Skip to main content

Full text of "The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 

MboH. » Tijd, Edi«* 





Oriiiinnl Honmnrnte i- Antlrtir KmM 





Mac ChupJ. Yer. CO- 





V>."«^\,^.K^; } ;ix. 


. 1 











VOL. m. 










Bt. DAviD, Archbishop, Patron of Wales 

St. Swidljfert, or Swibert, the Ancient, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Albiuus, Bishop of Angers, Confessor 

St. Monin, M«rtyr - - - 


Martyrs nnder the Lombards - 

St. Ceada, or Chad, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Simplicius, Pope and Confessor 

St. Maman, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Charles the Good, Earl of Flanders, Martyr 

St. JoaTan, or Joevln, Bishop and Confessor 


St. Cunegundes, £n)^ress 

SS. Marinus and Asterius, or Astyrias, Martyrs 

SS. Emeterius and Chelidonius, Martyrs 

St. Winwaloe, or Winwaloc, Abbot 

St. Lamalisse, Confessor 


St. Casimir, Prince of Poland - 
St. Lucius, Pope and Martyr - 
St. Adrian, Bishop of St. Andrews, Martjrr 


SS. Adrian and Eubulus, Martyrs 

St. Kiaran, or Kenerin, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Boger, Confessor 


St. Chrodegang, Bishop of Metz, Confessor 
B. Colette, Virgin and Abbess 
St. Fridolin, Abbot - . - 

St. Baldrede, Bishop of Glasgow, Confessor 
SS. Kyneburge, Kyneswide, and Tibba - 
St. Cadroe, Confessor 

St. Thomas of Aquino, Doctor of the Church, and Confetsor, 
SS. Perpetua and Felicitas, &c.^ Martyrs 
St, Paul, Anchoret --'•-• 


St. John of God, Confessor - - • • 

Venerable John of Avila, Apostle of Andalnsia 

St. Felix, Bishop and Confessor . « • 


- 1 

- 4 

- 6 

- 8 

- 8 

- 10 

- 12 
• 14 
> 14 

- 16 

- 16 

- 19 
. 20 

- 20 

- 23 

- 23 

- 27 





S8 ' 







SS. Apolldniui, Philemon, &c., Martyrs 

St. Julian. Arohbishop of Toledo. Confessor 

St. DuthaK, Bishop ot Ross, in Scotland, Confessor 

St. Bosa, of Viterbo, Virgin - - - 

St. Senan, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Pialmod, or Saomaj, Anchoret 

St. Frances, Widow - - - 

St Greffory, of Nyssa, Bishop and Confessor 
On the Writings of St. Gregory 
St. Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona, Confessor 
On the Writings of St. Pacian 
St. Catherine, of Bologna, Virgin and Abbess 


SS. The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste 

St. Droctovsufl, Ablrat - - - 

St. Mackessoge, or Kessoge, Confessor 


St. Enlogins, of Cordova, Priest and Martyr 

St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Confessor 

St. iEngus, Bishop and Confessor 

St. Constantino, Martyr ... 


St. Gregor^r the Great, Pope and Confessor 
On the Writings of St, Gregory 
St. Maximilian, Martyr . • • 

St. Paul, Bishop of Leon, Confessor 


St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Confessor 

St. Euphrasia, Virgin - . - 

St. Theophanes, Abbot and Confessor - 

St. Kennocha, Virgin in Scotland 

St. Gerald, Bishop ... 

St. Mochoemoc, in Latin, Pulcherius, Abbot 


St. Maud, or Mathildis, Queen of Germany 

SS. Acepsimas, Bishop; Joseph, Priest; and Aithilahas, 

Martyrs • - - - 

St Boniface, Bishop of Boss, Confessor 

St. Abraham, Hermit - - . 

St. Zachary, Pope and Confessor 

St Julian of Cilicia, Martyr - - - 

St. Finian, sumamed Lobhar, or the Leper 

St. Patrick, Bishop and Confessor, Apostle of Ireland 
SS. Mar^rs of Alexandria - - - 

St Joseph, of Arimathea - - - 

St Gertrude, Virgin and Abbess of Nivelle 


- 78 

- 79 

- 80 

- 80 

- 81 

- 81 







Deacon,| ^^^ 






St. Alexander. Bishop of Jerasalem, Martyr 
St. Cyril, Arcnbishop of Jerasalem, Confessor 
On the Writings of St. Cyril 
St. Edward, King and Martyr 
St. Anselm, Bishop of Lucca, Confessor 
St. Fridian, Bishop of Lacca, Confessor 

St. Joseph • - - • 

St. Alcmond, Martyr - - - 


St. Cuthbert, Bishop and Confessor - • 

St. Wulfran, Archbishop of Sens 

St. Benedict, Abbot • - . 

St. Serapion, the Sindonite - • • 

St. Serapion, Abbot of Arsinoe 
St. Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, in Egypt 
St. Enna, or Endeus, Abbot • • 

^ XXII. 
St. Basil, of Ancyra, Priest and Martyr • 

St. Paul, Bishop of Narbonne, Confessor 
St. Lea, Widow - - - . 

St. Deogratias, Bishop of Carthage, Confessor - 
St. Catharine, of Sweden, Virgin 


St. Alphonsus Turibius, Bishop and Confessor 

SS. Victorian, Proconsul, of Uarthage, &c., Martyrs 

St. Edelwald, Priest and Confessor 


St. IrensBUS, Bishop of Sirmimn, Martyr 
St. Simon, an Infant, Martyr 
St. William, of Norwich, Martyr 


The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 
St. Cammin, Abbot . . • 


St Ludger, Bishop of Munster, Apostle of Saxony 
St. Bradio, Bishop of Saragossa, Confessor 


St. John, of E| 
St. Bupert, or 

pt, Hermit 

bert, Bishop and Confessor 

SS. Prisons, Malchus, and Alexander, Martyrs - 
St. Sixtus IIL, Pope - - - 

St. Gontran, King and Confessor 


SS. Jonas, Barachisius, &c., Martyrs - 

SS. Armo^astes, Archinimu9, and Saturus, Martyrs 

St. Ettstasms, or Eostachius, Abbot 


• 109 

• 171 

• 18a 

• 186 

• 187 

- 189 

- 190 

" 196 

- 197 

- 204 

• 206 

- 221 

• 222 

- 223 

- 224 












St Gundleua, Confessor - - • • - -277 

St. Mark) Bishop and Confessor ...... 278 


St John Climacns, Abhot - - - - • - 280 

St Zozimus, Bishop of Syracnse . - - . - 286 

St. Regains, or Rieul - - ... - - - 286 


St. Benjamin, Deacon, M. ----- - 287 

St. Acacius, or Achates .-«--- 289 

St Guy, C. .-•.«. . 293 







See his life by Giraldns Cambrensis. in Wharton's Anglia Sacra, t. 2. also 
Doctor Brown Willis, and WilKins, Cone. Britan. & Hibern. 1. 1. 

About the Tear 544. 

St. David, in "Welch Dewid, was son ofXantus, prince of Ceretica, 
now Cardiganshire. He was brought up in the service of God, 
and being ordained priest, retired into the Isle of Wight, and 
embraced an ascetic life, under the direction of Paulinus, a learned 
and holy man, who had been a disciple of St. Germanus of 
Auxerre. He is said by the sign of the cross to have restored 
sight to his master, which he had lost by old age, and excessive 
weeping in prayer. He studied a long time to prepare him- 
self for the functions of the holy ministry. At length, coming 
out of his solitude, like the Baptist out of the desert, he preached 
the word of eternal life to the Britons. He built a chapel at 
Glastenbury, a place which had been consecrated to the divine 
worship by the first apostles of this island. He founded twelve 
monasteries, the principal of which was in the vale of Boss,* 
near Menevia, where he formed many great pastors and eminent 
servants of God. By his rule he obliged all his monks to 

* This denomination was given to the valley from the territory where it 
was situated, which was called Boss. Frequent mention is made of this 
monastery in the acts of several Irish saints, under the name of Kosnat or 

2 ST. DAVID. B. [MaECH 1. 

assidnoas manual labour in the spirit of penanoe : he allowed 
them the use of no cattle to ease them at their work in 
tilling the ground. They were never suffered to speak but on 
occasions of absolute necessity, and they never ceased to pray, at 
least mentally^ during their labour. They returned late in the 
day to the monastery, to read, write, and pray. Their food was 
only bread and vegetables, with a little salt, and they never 
drank anything better than a little milk mingled with water. 
After their repast they spent three hours in prayer and adoration ; 
then took a little rest, rose at cock-crowing, and continued in 
prayer till they went out to work. Their habit was of the 
skins of beasts. When any one' petitioned to be admitted, he 
waited ten days at the door, during which time he was tried by 
harsh words, repeated refusals, and painful labours, that he 
might learn to die to himself. When he was admitted, he left 
all his worldly substance behind him, for the monastery n«^er 
received anything on the score of admission. All the monks' 
discovered tiieir most secret thoughts and temptations to their 

The Pelagian heresy springing forth a second time in Britain, 
the bishops, in order to suppress it, held a synod at Brevy, in 
Cardiganshire, in 512, or rather in 519.(1) St. David, being 
invited to it, went thither, and in that venerable assembly confuted 
and dlenced the infernal monster by his eloquence, learning and 
miracles. On the spot where this council was held, a church 
was afterwards built called Llan-Devi-Brevi, or the church of 
St. David near the river Brevi. At the dose of the synod, St. 
Dubritius, the archbishop of Caerleon, resigned his see to St 
David, whose tears and opposition were only to be overcome by 
the absolute command of the synod; which however allowed him, 
at his request, the liberty to transfer his see from Caerleon, then 
a populous city, to Menevia, now called St. David's, a retired place^ 
formed by nature for solitude, being as it were almost cut off from 
the rest of the island, though now an intercourse is opened to it 
from Milford-Haven. Soon after the former synod, another was 
assembled by Saint David at a place called Yiotoria; in which 
the acts of the first were confirmed, and several canons added 
relating to discipline, which were afterwards confirmed by the 
authority of the Roman church ; and these two synods were, as 
it were, the rule and standard of the British churches. As for 
(1) See Wilkins, Cone. L 1. 

March. 1.] sr. david b. 3 

St. David, Giraldus adds, that he was the great ornament and 
pattern of his age. He spoke with great force and energy ; but 
his example was more powerful than his eloquence ; and he has 
in all succeeding ages been the glory of the British church. He 
continued in his last see many years ; and having founded several 
monasteries, and been the spiritual father of many saints, both 
British and Irish, died about the year 544, in a very advanced 
age. St. Eentigem saw his soul bom up by angels into heaven. 
He was buried in his church of St. Andrew, which hath since 
taken his name, with the town and the whole diocess. Near the 
church stand several chapels, formerly resorted to with great 
devotion : the principal is that of Saint Nun, mother of Saint 
David, near which is a beautiful well, still frequented by pilgrims. 
Another chapel is sacred to St. Lily, sumamed Gwas-Dewy, that 
is, St. David's man ; for he was his beloved disciple and compa- 
nion in his retirement. He is honoured there on the 3rd., and 
St. Nun, who lived and died the spiritual mother of many 
religious women, on the 2Dd of March. The three first days of 
March were formerly holidays in South Wales in honour of these 
three saints; at present only the first is kept a festival throughout 
all Wales. John of Glastenbury(l) informs us, that in the feign 
of King Edgar, in the year of Christ 962, the relics of St. David 
were translated with great solemnity from the vale of Ross to 
Glastenbury, together with a portion of the relics of St. Stephen 
the Protomartyr. 

By singing assiduously the divine praises with pure and holy 
hearts, dead to the world and all inordinate passions, monks 
are styled angels of the earth. The divine praise is the 
primary, act of the love of God ; for a soul enamoured of his 
adorable goodness and perfections, summons up all her powers 
to express the complacency she takes in his infinite greatnoes 
and bliss, and sounds forth his praises with all her strength. In 
this entertainment she feels an insatiable delight and sweetness, 
and with longing desires aspires after that bliss in which she 
will love and praise without intermission or impediment. By 
each act of divine praise, the fervour of charity and its habit, 
and with it every spiritual good and every rich treasure, is 
increased in her : moreover, God in return heaps upon her the 
choicest blessings of his grace. Therefore, though the acts of 

(1) In his History of Glastenbury, p. 130, published by Mr. Thom&8 
H«arne, in 1726. 

4 ST. SWIDBEBT, B. C. [MaBCH 1. 

divine praise seem directly to be no more than a tribute or 
homage of our affections^ which we tender to God^ the highest 
advantages accrue from these exercises to our souls. St. Stephen 
of Grandmont was once asked by a disciple, why we are so 
frequently exhorted in the scriptures to bless and praise God, 
who, being infinite, can receive no increase from our homages P 
To which the saint replied : ^ A man who blesses and praises 
God receives from thence the highest advantage imaginable ; for 
God, in return, bestows on him all his blessings, and for every 
word that he repeats in these acts, says : ' For the praises and 
blessings which you offer me, I bestow my blessings on you; 
what you present to me returns to yourself with an increase 
which becomes my liberality and greatness.' It is the divine 
grace," goes on this holy doctor, *^ which first excites a man to 
praise God, and he only returns to God his own gift : yet by his 
continually blessing God, the Lord pours forth his divine bless- 
ings upon him, which are so many new increases of charity in 
his BOul."(l) 



He was an English monk, educated near the borders of Scotland, 
and lived some time under the direction of the holy priest and 
monk, Sc. Egbert, whom he accompanied into Ireland. St Egbert 
was hindered himself from passing into Lower Germany, accord- 
ing to his zealous desire, to preach the gospel to the infidels: 
and Wigbert, who first went into Friesland upon that errand, 
was thwarted in all his undertakings by Radbod, prince of that 
country, and returned home without success. St. Egbert, burning 
with an insatiable zeal for the conversion of those souls, which 
he ceased not with many tears to commend to God, stirred up 
others to undertake that mission. St. Swidbert was one of the 
twelve missionaries^ who, having St. Willibrord at their head, 
sailed into Friesland, in 690, according to the direction of St. 
Egbert They landed at the mouth of the Rhine, as Alcuin 
assures us, and travelled as high as Utrecht, where they began 
to announce to the people the great truths of eternal life. Pepin 
of Herstal, mayor of the French palace, had conquered part of 

(1) Maximes de S. Etienne de Grandmont, ch. 106. p. 228. Item 1. Seii- 
^ntiarnm S. Stephani Grand, c. 105. p. 103. 

March 1.] st. swidbert, b.c. 5 

Friesland, eighteen months before, and compelled Radbod, who 
remained sovereign in the northern part, to pay an annual 
tribute. The former was a great protector and benefactor to 
these missionaries, nor did the latter oppose their preaching. 
St. Swidbert laboured chiefly in Hither Friesland, which com- 
prised the southern part of Holland, the northern part of Brabant, 
and the countries of Gueldres and Cleves : for in the middle age, 
Friesland was extended from the mouths of the Meuse and the 
Rhine, as far as Denmark and ancient Saxony. An incredible 
number of souls was drawn out of the sink of idolatry, and the 
most shameful vices, by the zeal of St. Swidbert. St. Willibrord 
was ordained archbishop of Utrecht by Pope Sergius I. at Rome, 
in 696. St. Swidbert was pressed by his numerous flock of 
converts, and by his fellow-labourers, to receive the episcopal 
consecration : for this purpose he returned to England soon after 
the year 697, where he was consecrated regionary bishop to 
preach the gospel to infidels, without being attached to any see, 
by Wilfrid, bishop of York, who happened to be then banished 
from his own see, and employed in preaching the faith in Mercia. 
Either the see of Canterbury was still vacant after the death of 
St. Theodorus, or Brithwald, his successor, was otherwise 
hindered from performing that ceremony, and St. Swidbert had 
probably been formerly known personally to St. Wilfrid, being 
both from the same kingdom of Northumberland. Our saint, 
invested with that sacred character, returned to his flock, and 
settled the churches which he had founded in good order : then 
leaving them to the care of ]fet. WiUibrord and his ten companions, 
he penetrated frirther into the country, and converted to the 
faith a considerable part of the Boructuarians, who inhabited 
the countries now called the duchy of Berg, and the county of 
La Marck. 

His apostolic labours were obstructed by an invasion of the 
Saxons, who, after horrible devastations, made themselves 
masters of the whole country of the Boructuarians. St. Swidbert, 
being at length desirous to prepare himself for his last hour, in 
retirement, by fervent works of penance, received of Pepin of 
Herstal the gift of a small island, formed by different channels 
of the Rhine, and another river, called Keiserswerdt, that is, 
island of the emperor ; werdt, in the language of that country, 
signifying an island. Here the saint built a great monastery, 
which flourished for many ages, till it was converted into » 



collegiate church of secular canons. A town, which was formed 
sound this monastery, bore long the name of St. Swidbert's Isle, 
but is now called by the old name, Keiserswerdt, and is fortified : 
it is situated on the Rhine, six miles below Dusseldorp : a channel 
of the Rhine having changed its course, the place is no longer 
an island. St. Swidbert here died in peace, on the 1st of March, 
in 713. His feast was kept with great solemnity in Holland and 
other parts where he had preached. Henschenius has given us 
a panegyric on him, preached on this day by Radbod, bishop of 
Utrecht, who died in 917. His relics were found in 1626 at 
Keiserswerdt, in a silver shrine, together with those of St. 
Willeic, likewise an Englishman, his successor in the government 
of this abbey ; and are still venerated in the same place, except 
some small portions given to other churches by the archbishop of 
Cologne.* See Bede, Hist. 1. 6. c. 10. 12. and the historical 
collection of Henschenius, 1. Mart. p. 84. Fleury, 1. 40. Batavia 
Sacra ; and the Roman Martyrology, in which his name occurs 
on this day. His successor, St. Willeic, is commemorated on 
the 2nd of March, by Wilson, in his English Martyrology, in the 
first edition, an 1608, (though omitted in the second edition, an. 
1628,) and is mentioned among the English saints, by F. Edward 
Maihew, Trophsea Cougregationis Anglicans Bened. Rhemis, 
1625 ; and F. Jerom Porter, in his Flores Sanctorum Angliae, 
Scotise, et Hiberniae. Duaci, 1632. 


He was of an ancient and noble family in Brittany,t and from his 
childhood was fervent in every exercise of piety. He ardently 

* The acts of St. Swidbert, nnder the name of MarcellinnSj pretended to 
be St. Marchelm, a disciple or coUeagoe of the saint, extant m Sarins, are 
a notorious piece of forgery of the fifteenth century. We must not, with 
these false acts and many others, confound St. Swidbert of Keiserswerdt with 
a younger saint of the same name, also an Englishman, first bishop of 
Verden or Ferden, in Westphaly, in 807, in the reign of Charlemagne ; 
whose body was taken up at Verden, together with those of seven bishops 
his successors, in 1630. St. Swidbert the younger is mentioned in some 
Marty rologies on the 30th of April, though many modems have confounded 
him with our naint. Another holy man, called Swidbeit, forty years younger 
than our saint, whom some have also mistaken for the same with him, is 
mentioned by Bede, (1. 4. c. 32.) and was abbot of a monastery in Cumberland, 
upon the river Dacore, which does not appear to have been standing since 
the Conquest. See Leland, Collect, t. 2. p. 152. and Camden's Britannia, 
by ^.hbson, col. 831. Tanner's Notitia Mon. p. 73. 

t It is proved by Leland in his Itinerary, puolished by Hearne t. 3. p. 4.) 

March IJ sr. albinus, b.c. 7 

sighed after the happiness which a devout soul finds in being 
perfectly disengaged from all earthly things. Having embraced 
the monastic state at Cincillac, called afterwards Tintillant, a 
place somewhere near Angers, he shone a perfect model of virtue, 
especially of prayer, watching, universal mortification of the 
senses, and obedience, living as if in all things he had been 
without any will of his own, and his soul seemed so perfectly 
governed by the Spirit of Christ as to live only for him. At the 
age of thirty-five years, he was chosen abbot, in 604, and twenty- 
five years afterwards, bishop of Angers. He every where 
restored discipline, being inflamed with a holy zeal for the honour 
of God. His dignity seemed to make no alteration either in his 
mortifications, or in the constant recollection of his soul. 
Honoured by all the world, even by kings, he was never affected 
with vanity. Powerful in works and miracles, he looked upon 
himself as the most unworthy and most unprofitable among the 
servants of God, and had no other ambition than to appear such 
in the eyes of others, as he was in those of his own humility. By 
his courage in maintaining the law of God and the canons of the 
church, he showed that true greatness of soul is founded in the 
most sincere humility. In the third council of Orleans, in 538, 
he procured the thirtieth canon of the council of Epaone to be 
revived, by which those are declared excommunicated who 
presume to contract incestuous marriages in the first or second 
degree of consanguinity or affinity. He died on the 1st of 
March, in 649. His relics were taken up and enshrined by St. 
Germanus of Paris, and a council of bishops, with Eutropius, 
the saint's successor, at Angers, in 666 ; and the most con- 
siderable part still remains in the church of the famous abbey 
of St. Albinus at Angers, built upon the spot where he was 
buried, by king Childebert, a little before his relics were 
enshrined. Many churches in France, and several monas- 
teries and villages, bear his name. He was honoured by many 
miracles, both in his life-time and after his death. Several 
are related in his life written by Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, 
who came to Angers to celebrate his festival seven years after 
his decease ; also by St. Gregory of Tours, (1. de Glor. Confess, c. 
96.) See the Notes of Henschenius on his life. 

that the ancestors of St. Albinus of Angers came from Great Britain, nM 
that two branches of his family flourished long after, the one in Cornt^'ally 
the other in Somersetshire. 



St. Adrian, bishop of St. Andrew's, trained up this holy man 
from his childhood, and when he had ordained him priest, and 
long employed him in the service of his own church, sent him to 
preach the gospel in the isle of May, lying in the bay of Forth. 
The saint exterminated superstition and many other crimes and 
abuses, and having settled the churches of that island in good 
order, passed into the county of Fife, and was there martyred ; 
being slain with above 6000 other Christians, by an army of 
infidels who ravaged that coontry in 874. His relics were held 
in great veneration at Innerny, in Fifeshire, the place of his 
martyrdom, and were famous for miracles. King David II. 
having himself experienced the effect of his powerful interces- 
sion with God, rebuilt his church at Innerny of stone, in a stately 
manner, and founded a college of canons to serve it. See King's 
calendar, and the manuscript life of this martyr in the Scottish 
college at Paris, and the Breviary of Aberdeen. 


From St. Gregory, Dial. 1, 3. c. 26, 27- t. 2. p. 337. 
Sixth Age. 

The Lombards, a barbarous idolatrous nation which swarmed 
out of Scandinavia and Pomerania, settled first in the countries 
now called Austria and Bavaria; and a few years after, about 
the middle of the sixth century, broke into the north of Italy. 
In their ravages about the year 697, they attempted to compel 
forty husbandmen, whom they had made captives, to eat meats 
which had been offered to idols. The faithful servants of Christ 
constantly refusing to comply, were all massacred. Such meats 
might, in some circumstances, have been eaten without sin, but 
not when this was exacted out of a motive of superstition. The 
same barbarians endeavoured to oblige another company of cap- 
tives to adore the head of a goat, which was their favourite 
idoL and about which they walked, singing, and bending their 


knees before it; but the Christians chose rather to die than 
purchase their lives by offending God. They are said to have 
been about four hundred in number. 

St. Gregory the Great mentions, that these poor countrymen 
had prepared themselves for the glorious crown of martyrdom, 
by lives employed in the exercises of devotion and voluntary 
penance, and by patience in bearing afflictions ; also, that they 
had the heroic courage to suffer joyfully the most cruel torments 
and death, rather than offend God by sin, because his love 
reigned in their hearts. " True love," says St. Peter Chry- 
sologus,(l) " makes a soul courageous and undaunted ; it even 
finds nothing hard, nothing bitter, nothing grievous ; it braves 
dangers, smiles at death, conquers all things." If we ask our 
own hearts, if we examine our lives by this test, whether we 
have yet begun to love God, we shall have reason to be con- 
founded, and to tremble at our remissness and sloth. We suffer 
much for the world, and we count labour light, that we may 
attain to the gratification of our avarice, ambition, or other 
passion in its service ; yet we have not fervour to undertake 
anything to save our souls, or to crucify our passions. Here 
penance,^watchfulness over ourselves, or the least restraint, 
seems intolerable. Let us begin sincerely to study to die to 
ourselves, to disengage our hearts firom all inordinate love of 
creatures, to raise ourselves above the slavery of the senses, 
above the appetites of the flesh and all temporal interest ; and 
in order to excite ourselves to Icve God with fervour, let us 
seriously consider what God, infinite in goodness and in all 
perfections, and whose love for us is eternal and immense, 
deserves at our hands ; what the joys of heaven are, how much 
we ought to do for such a bliss, and what Christ has done to 
purchase it for us, and to testify the excess of his love ; also 
what the martyrs have suffered for his sake, and to attain to 
the happiness of reigning eternally with him. Let us animate 
ourselves with their fervour ; " Let us love Christ as they did," 
said St. Jerom to the virgin Eustochium, " and everything that 
now appears difficult, will become easy to us." To find this 
hidden treasure of divine love we must seek it earnestly ; we 
mast sell all things, that is, renounce in spirit all earthly objects ; 
we must dig a deep foundation of sincere humility in the very 

(1) S. Pet Chrysos. Serm. 4« 


10 ST. CEiDA, B. c. [March 2. 

centre of our nothingness, and must without ceasing beg this 
most precious of all gifts, crying out to God, in the vehement 
desire of our hearts, Lord, when shall I love thee ! 


He was brother to St. Cedd, bishop of London, and the two holy 
priests Celin and Cymbel, and had his education in the monas- 
tery of Lindisfarne, under St. Aidan. For his greater improvement 
in sacred letters and divine contemplation he passed into Ireland, 
and spent a considerable time in the company of Saint Egbert, 
till he was called back by his brother St. Cedd to assist him in 
settling the monastery of Lestingay, which he had founded in 
the mountams of the Deiri, that is, the Woulds of Yorkshire. 
St. Cedd being made bishop of London, or of the East Saxons, 
left to him the entire government of this house. Oswi having 
yielded up Bernicia, or the northern part of his kingdom, to 
his son Alcfrid^ this prince sent St. "Wilfrid into France, that 
he might be consecrated to the bishopric of the Northumbrian 
kingdom, or of York ; but he staid so long abroad that Oswi 
himself nominated St. Chad to that dignity, who was ordained by 
Wini, bishop of Winchester, assisted by two British prelates, in 
666. Bede assures us that he zealously devoted himself to all the 
laborious functions of his charge, visiting his diocess on foot, 
preaching the gospel, and seeking out the poorest and most 
abandoned persons to instruct and comfort in the meanest cottages, 
and in the fields. When Bt. Theodorus, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, arrived in England, in his general visitation of all the 
English churches, he adjudged the see of York to St. Wilfrid. 
Saint Chad made him this answer : *' If you judge that I have 
not duly received the episcopal ordination, I willingly resign this 
charge^ having never thought myself worthy of it ; but which, 
however unworthy, I submitted to undertake in obedience." The 
archbishop was charmed with his candonr and humility, would 
not admit his abdication, but supplied certain rites which he 
judged defective in his ordination : and St. Chad, leaving the see 
of York, retired to his monastery of Lestingay, but was not 
suffered to bury himself lon^ in that solitude. Jaruman, bishop 
of the Mercians, dying, St. Chad was called upon to take upon 
him the charge of that most extensive diocess.*' He was the 

* The first bishop of the Mercians was Diuma a Scot; the second KeoUach. 

March 2.] st. ceada, b. c. 11 

lifth bishop of the Mercians, and first fixed that see at Litchfield, 
80 called from a great number of martyrs slain and buried there 
under Maximianus Herculeus ; the name signifying the field of 
carcasses. Hence this city bears for its arms a landscape, 
covered with the bodies of martyrs. St. Theodoras considering 
St. Chad's old age, and the great extent of his diocess, absolutely 
forbade him to make his visitations on foot, as he used to do at 
York. When the laborious duties of his charge allowed him to 
retire, he enjoyed God in solitude with seven or eight monks, 
whom he had settled in a place near his cathedral. Here he 
gained new strength and fresh graces for the discharge of hb 
functions : he was so strongly affected with the fear of the divine 
judgments, that as often as it thundered he went to the church and 
prayed prostrate all the time the storm continued, in remembrance 
of the dreadful day on which Christ will come to judge the world. 
By the bounty of king Wulfere, he founded a monastery at a place 
called Barrow, iu the province of Lindsay, (in the northern part 
of Lincolnshire,) where the footsteps of the regular life begun by 
him remained to the time of Bede. Carte conjectures that the 
foundation of the great monastery of Bardney, in the same pro- 
vince, was begun by him. St. Chad governed his diocess of 
Litchfield two years and a half, and died in the great pestilence 
on the 2nd of March, in 673. Bede gives the foUowing relation 
of his passage : ** Among the eight monks whom he kept with 
him at Litchfield, was ona Owiui, who came with queen Ethelred, 
commonly called St. Audry, from the province of the East Angles, 
and was her major-domo, and the first officer of her court, till 
quitting the world, clad in a mean garment, and carrying an axe 
and a hatchet in his hand, he went to the monastery of Lestingay, 
signifying that he came to work, and not to be idle ; which he 
made good by his behaviour in the monastic state. This monk 
declared, that he one day heard a joyful melody of some persons 
sweetly singing, which descended from heaven into the bishop's 
oratory, filled the same for about half an hour, then mounted 
again to heaven. After this, the bishop opening his window, and 
seeing him at his work, bade him call the other seven brethren. 
When the eight monks were entered his oratory, he exhorted 
them to preserve peace, and religiously observe the rules of 

of the same nation ; the third Tnimhere, who had been abbot of Gethling^ 
in the kingdom of tt« Northumbrians ; the fourth Jaruman. 

13 ST. giMPLicius, P. c. [March 3. 

regular discipline; adding, that the amiable guest who was 
wont to visit their brethren, had vouchsafed to come to him that 
day, and to call him out of this world. Wherefore he earnestly 
recommended his passage to their prayers, and pressed them to 
prepare for their own, the hour of which is uncertain, by watch- 
ing, prayer, and good works." 

The bishop fell presently into a languishing distemper, which 
daily increased, till, on the seventh day, having received the 
body and blood of our Lord, he departed to bliss, to which he 
was invited by the happy soul of his brother St. Cedd, and a 
company of angels with heavenly music. He was buried in the 
church of St. Mary, in Litchfield ; but his body was soon after 
removed to that of St. Peter, in both places honoured by miracu- 
lous cures, as Bede mentions. His relics were afterwards trans- 
lated into the great church which was built in 1148, under the 
invocation of the B. Virgin and St. Chad, which is now the 
cathedral, and they remained there till the change of religion. 
See Bede, 1. 3. c. 28. 1. 4. c. 2 and 3. 


He was the ornament of the Roman clergy under SS. Leo and 
Hilarius, and succeeded the latter in the pontificate in 497. He 
was raised by God to comfort and support his church amidst the 
greatest storms. All the provinces of the western empire, out 
of Italy, were fallen into the hands of barbarians, infected for 
the greater part with idolatry or Arianism. The ten last 
emperors, during twenty years, were rather shadows of power 
than sovereigns, and in the eighth year of the pontificate of 
Simplicius, Rome itself fell a prey to foreigners. Salvian, a 
learned priest of Marseilles in 440, wrote an elegant book on 
Divine Providence, in which he shows that these calamities were 
a just chastisement of the sins of the Christians ; saying, that 
if the Goths were perfidious, and the Saxons cruel, they were, 
however, both remarkable for their chastity ; as the Franks were 
for humanity, though addicted to lying : and that though these 
barbarians were impious, they had not so perfect a knowledge 
of sin, nor consequently were so criminal as those whom God 
chastised by them. The disorders of the Roman state paved 
the way for this revolution. Excessive taxes were levied in the 
most arbitrary ways. The governors oppressed the people at 

March 2.] st. simplicius, p. a 13 

discretion, and many were obliged to take shelter among the 
barbarians: for the Bagaudes, Franks, Huns, Vandals, and 
Goths raised no taxes upon their subjects: on which account 
nations once conquered by them were afraid of falling again 
under the Roman yoke, preferring what was called slavery, to 
the empty name of liberty. Italy, by oppressions, and the 
ravages of barbarians, was left almost a desert without inhabit- 
ants; and the imperial armies consisted chiefly of barbarians, 
hired under the name of auxiliaries, as the Suevi, Alans, Heruli, 
Gothsy and others. These soon saw their masters were in their 
power. The Heruli demanded one third of the lands of Italy, 
and, upon refusal, chose for their leader Odoacer, one of the 
Idwest extraction, but a tall, resolute, and intrepid man, then 
an officer in the guards, and an Arian heretic, who was pro- 
claimed king at Rome dn 476. He put to death Orestes, who 
was regent of the empire, for his son Augustulus, whom the 
senate had advanced to the imperial, throne. The young prince 
bad only reigned eight months, and his great beauty is the only 
thing mentioned of him. Odoacer spared his life, and appointed 
him a salary of six thousand pounds of gold, and permitted him 
to live at full liberty near Naples. Pope Simplicius was wholly 
taken up in comforting and relieving the afflicted, and in sowing 
the seeds of the Catholic faith among the barbarians. 

The East gave his zeal no less employment and concern. 
Zeno, son and successor to Leo the Thracian, favoured the 
Eutychians. Basiliscus* his admiral, who, on expelling him, 
usurped the imperial throne in 476, and held it two years, was 
a most furious stickler for that heresy. Zeno was no Catholic, 
though not a staunch Eutychian: and having recovered the 
empire, published, in 482, his famous decree of union, called 
the Henoticon, which explained the faith ambiguously, neither 
admitting nor condemning the council of Chalcedon. Peter 
Cnapheus, (that is, the Dyer,) a violent Eutychian, was made 
by the heretics patriarch of Antioch ; and Peter Mongus, one of 
the most profligate of men, that of Alexandria. This latter 
published the Henoticon, but expressly refused to anathematize 
the council of Chalcedon ; on which account the rigid Eutychians 
separated themselves from his communion, and were called 
Aoephali, or, without a head. Acacius, the patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, received the sentence of St. Simplicius against 
Cnapheus, but supported Mongus against him and the Catholic 


Churchy promoted the Henoticon, and was a notorious change- 
ling, double dealer, and artful hypocrite, who often made religion 
serve his own private ends. St. Simplicius at length discovered 
his artifices, and redoubled his zeal to maintain the holy faith 
which he saw betrayed on every side, whilst the patriarchal 
sees of Alexandria and Antioch were occupied by furious wolves, 
and there was not one Catholic king in the whole world. The 
emperor measured everything by his passions and human views. 
St. Simplicius having sat fifteen years, eleven months, and six 
days, went to receive the reward of his labours, in 483. He 
was buried in St. Peter's on the 2nd of March. See his letters : 
also the historians Evagrius, Theophanes, Liberatus, and 
amongst the moderns, Baronius, Henschenius, Ceillier, t. 15. 
p. 123. 


To his holy prayers Aidan, king of the Scots, ascribed a won- 
derful victory which he gained over Ethelfrid, the pagan king of 
the Northumbrian English ; and by his councils Eugenius lY. 
who succeeded his father Aidan in the kingdom soon after this 
battle, treated all the prisoners with the utmost humanity and 
generosity, by which they were gained to the Christian faith. 
The Northumbrian princes, Oswald and Oswi, were instmcted 
in our holy religion, and grounded in its spirit by St. Marnsm, 
who died in Annandale, in the year 620. His head was kept 
with singular devotion at Moravia, and was carried in proces- 
sions attended by the whole clan of the Innis's, which from the 
earliest times was much devoted to this saint. See the Breviary 
of Aberdeen, Buchanan, 1. 5. in Aidano et Eugenic Begibus, and 
MS. Memoirs in the Scottish college at Paris. St. Maman is 
titular saint of the church of Aberkerdure upon the river Duvern, 
formerly much frequented out of devotion to his relics kept there. 



He wa« son of St. Canutus king of Denmark, and of Alice of 
Flanders, who, after the death of his father, carried him, then 
an infant, into Flanders, in 10S6. His cousin-german Baldwin 
the Seventh, earl of Flanders, dying without issue in 1119, left 
him his heir by wiU, on account of his extraordinary valour and 

March 2.] st. charles the good, m. 15 

merit. The young earl was a perfect model of all virtues, 
especially devotion, charity, and hnmility. Among his friends 
and courtiers, he loved those best who admonished him of his 
faults the most freely. He frequently exhausted his treasury on 
the poor, and often gave the clothes off his back to be sold for 
their relief. He served them with his own hands, and distri- 
buted clothes and bread to them in all places where he came. 
It was observed that in Ipres he gave away, in one day, no less 
than seven thousand eight hundred loaves. He took care for 
their sake to keep the price of com and provisions always low, 
and he made wholesome laws to protect them from the oppres- 
sions of the great. This exasperated Bertulf, who had tyranni- 
cally usurped the provostship of St. Donatian's in Bruges, to 
which dignity was annexed the chancellorship of Flanders, and 
his wicked relations the great oppressors of their country. In 
this horrible conspiracy they were joined by Erembald, castellan 
or chief magistrate of the territory of Bruges, with his five sons, 
provoked against their sovereign because he bad repressed their 
unjust violences against tbe noble family De Straten. The holy 
earl went every morning barefoot to perform his devotions early 
before the altar of the Blessed Virgin in St. Donatian's church. 
Going thither one day, he was informed of a conspiracy ; but 
answered : " We are always surrounded by dangers, but we 
belong to God. If it be his will, can we die in a better cause 
than that of justice and truth P" Whilst he was reciting tho 
penitential psalms before the altar, the conspirators rushing in, 
his head was cloven by Fromold Borchard, nephew to Bertulf, 
in 1124. He was buried in St. Christopher's church at Bruges 
not in that of St. Donatian, as Pantoppidan proves. Borchard 
was broken alive on the wheel, and Bertulf was hung on a rack 
at Ipres, and exposed on it to be torn by furious dogs, and at 
length was stoned to death by beggars whilst he remained on 
that engine. St. Charles's shrine was placed by an order of 
Charles Philip Bodoan, fourth bishop of Bruges, in 1606, in the 
chapel of the Blessed Virgin, and ever since the year 1610 an 
high mass in honour of the Trinity is sung on his festival. See 
the life of this good earl by Walter, archdeacon of Terouenne^ 
and more fully by Gualbert, syndic of Bruges, and by ^Inoth, 
a monk of Canterbury and Danish missionary at that time. 
See also Molanus and Miraeus in their martyrologies ; Hens- 
chenius, p. 158. Bobertus de Monte in Append, ad Chronicon 


Sigeberti ad an. 1127. Jac. Maierus, Annal. Flandriae, 1.4, p. 46, 
46. Likewise Ericas Pantoppidanus in his Gesta Danorum extra 
Daniam. Hafhi», 1740, t. 2. sec. 1. c. 5. sea. 32. p. 398. 


This saint was a fervent disciple of St. Panl of Leon, in Great 
Britain, his own country, accompanied him into Armorica, led 
an anchoretical life near him in the country of Ack, and after- 
wards in the isle of Baz. That great saint chose him coadjutor 
in his bishopric, when he retired a little before his death. St. 
Joavan survived him only one year. He is titular saint of two 
parish churches in the diocess of St. Paul of Leon, &c. See 
Lobineau, Vies des Saints de la Bretagne, p. 71. from the 
breviary and tradition of that church, though the life of St. 
Jovian, copied by Albert the Great, &c. deserves no regard. 

MARCH in. 


From her life, written bj a canon of Bamberg, aboat the year 1152 : also 
the Dissertation of Hensobenius, p. 267* 

A.D. 1040. 

St. CUNEGUNDES was the daughter of Sigefride, the first count 
of Luxemburgh, and Hadeswige his pious wife. They instilled 
into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and 
married her to St. Henry, duke of Bavaria, who, upon the 
death of the emperor Otho III. was chosen king of the Romans 
and crowned at Mentz on the 6th of June, 1002. She was 
crowned at Paderborn on St. Laurence's day, on which occasion 
she made great presents to the churches of that city. In the 
year 1014 she went with her husband lo Rome, and received the 
imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict 
VIII. She had, by St. Henry's consent before her marriage, 
made a vow of virginity. Calumniators afberwards accused her 
to him of freedoms with other men. The holy empress, to remove 
the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God the protector of inno- 
cence, in proof of hers, walked over red hot plough-shares without 
being hurt. The emperor condemned his too scrupulous fears 

■ lOi liki afW - 

March 3.] sr. cunkgundes. 17 

and credulity, and made her ample amends^. They lived from 
that time in the strictest nnion of hearts, conspiring to promote 
in everything God's honour, and the advancement of piety. 

Going once to make a retreat in Hesse, she fell dangerously ill, 
and made a vow to found a monastery, if she recovered, in a 
place then called Capungen, now Eaffungen, near Cassel, in the 
diocess of Paderbom, which she executed in a stately nuumer, 
and gave it to nuns of the Order of St. Benedict. Before it was 
finished St. Henry died, in 1024. She earnestly recommended 
his soul to the prayers of others, especially to her dear nuns, 
and expressed her longing desire of joining them. She had 
already exhausted her treasures and her patrimony in founding 
bishoprics and monasteries, and in relieving the poor. Whatever 
was rich or magnificent she thought better suited churches than 
her palace. She had therefore little now left to give. But still 
thirsting to embrace perfect evangelical poverty, and to renounce 
all to serve God without obstacle, on the anniversary day of her 
husband's death, 102d, she assembled a great number of prelates 
to the dedication of her church of Kafiungen ; and after the gospel 
was sung at mass, offered on the altar a piece of the true cross, 
and then put off her imperial robes, and clothed herselt with a 
poor habit : her hair was cut off, and the bishop put on her a 
veD, and a ring as the pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly 
spouse. After she was consecrated to God in religion, she 
seemed entirely to forget that she had been empress, and behaved 
as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was so before 
God. She feared nothing more than whatever could bring to 
her mind the remembrance of her former dignity. She prayed 
and read much, worked with her hands, abhorred the least 
appearance of worldly nicety, and took a singular pleasure in 
visiting and comforting the sick. Thus she passed the fifteen 
last years of her life, never suffering the least preference to be 
given her above any one in the community. Her mortifications 
at length reduced her to a very weak condition, and brought on 
her last sickness. Her monastery and the whole city of Cassel 
were grievously aftlicted at the thought of their approaching loss ; 
she alone appeared without concern, lying on a coarse hair-cloth, 
ready to give up the ghost, whilst the prayers of the agonizing 
were read by her side. Perceiving they were preparing a cloth 
fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she changed 
colour and ordered it to be taken away ; nor could she be at rest 


till she was promised she should be buried as a poor religions in 
her habit. She died on the 3rd of March, 1040. Her body was 
carried to Bamberg, and buried near that of her husband. The 
greater part of her relics still remain in the same church. She 
was solemnly canonized by Innocent III. in 1200. The author 
of her life relates many miracles wrought at her tomb, or by the 
intercession of this holy virgin and widow. 

Few arrive at any degree of perfection amongst those who 
aspire after virtue, because many behave as if they placed it 
barely in multiplying exercises of piety and good works. Thi»j 
costs little to self-love, which it rather feeds by entertaining a 
secret vanity, or self-complacency, in those who are not very 
careful in watching over their hearts. It is a common thing to 
see persons who have passed forty or fifty years in the constant 
practice of penance and all religious exercises, and the use of the 
most holy sacraments, still subject to habitual imperfections, and 
venial disorders, incompatible with a state of sanctity or perfec- 
tion. They give marks of sudden resentment, if they happen to 
be rebuked or despised : are greedy of the esteem of others, take 
a secret satisfaction in applause, love too much their own ease 
and conveniences, and seek those things which flatter self-love. 
How much are these souls their own enemies by not giving 
themselves to God without reserve, and taking a firm resolution 
to labour diligently in watching over themselves, and cutting off 
all irregular attachments, and purifying their hearts ! The 
neglect of this fosters many habitual little disorders and venial 
sins, which incredibly obstruct the work of our sane tifi cation, 
and the advancement of the kingdom of divine grace in our souls. 
These little enemies wilfully caressed, weaken our good desires, 
defile even our spiritual actions with a thousand imperfections, 
and stop the abundant eflftision with which the Holy Ghost is 
infinitely desirous to communicate himself to our souls, and to 
fill them with his light, grace, peace, and holy joy. The saints, 
by the victory over themselves, and by making it their principal 
study to live in the most perfect disengagement and purity of 
heart, offered to God, even in their smallest actions, pure and 
full sacrifices of love, praise, and obedience. If we desire to 
cultivate this purity of heart, we must carefully endeavour to 
discover the imperfections and disorders of our souls, especially 
such as are habitual, and strenuously labour to root them out. 
Secondly, we must keep our senses under a strict guard, and 

MaBCH 3.] ST. MABINU8, &C. MSI ^ 19 

accustom them to restraint by frequent denials. Thirdly, we 
most live as much as may be in a habit of recoUection, and the 
practice of the divine presence, and, after any dissipating affiurs, 
return eagerly to close retirement for some short time. Foorthly, 
we must, with perfect simplicity, lay open our whole interior to 
our spiritual director, and be most solicitous to do this, with 
particular candour and courage, in things in which we are 
tempted to nse any kind of duplicity or dissimulation. Lastly, 
we must propose to ourselves, in all our thoughts and actions, 
the most perfect accomplishment of the will of God, and study 
to square our whole lives by this great rule, watching in all we 
do with particular care against motives of vanity, pride, sen- 
suality, interest, and aversions, the great enemies to purity of 



St. Marinus was a person remarkable both for his wealth and 
family at Csesarea in Palestine, about the year 272, and was in 
course to succeed to the place of a centurion, which was vacant, 
and about to obtain it ; when another came up and said, that 
according to the laws Marinus could not have that post, on 
account of his being a Christian. Acbaeus, the governor of 
Palestine, asked Marinus if he were a Christian ; who answered 
in the aflBrmative : whereupon the judge gave him three hours 
space to consider whether he would abide by his answer, or recall 
it. Theotecnus, the bishop of that city, being informed of the 
affair, came to him, when withdrawn from the tribunal, and 
taking him by the hand led him to the church. Here, pointing 
to the sword which he wore, and then to a book of the gospels, 
asked him which of the two he made his option. Marinus, in 
answer to the query, without the least hesitation, stretched out 
his right hand, and laid hold of the sacred book. "Adhere 
stedfastly then to God," says the bishop, ** and he will strengthen 
you, and you shall obtain what you have chosen. Depart in 
peace." Being summoned again before the judge, he professed 
his faith with greater resolution and alacrity than before, and 
was immediately led away just as he was, and beheaded. St. 
Asterius, or Astyrius, a Roman senator, in great favour with 
the emperors, and well known to all on account of his birth 

20 ST. WINWALOE, A. [MaBCH 3. 

and great estate, being present at the martyrdom of St. Marinus, 
though he was richly dressed, took away the dead body on 
his shoulders, and having sumptnously adorned it, gave it a 
decent bnriaL Thas far the acts in Buinart. Bufinus adds, 
that he was beheaded for this action. See £us. Hist. 1. 7. c. 
16, 16, 17. 



They were soldiers of distinguished merit in the Boman army 
in Spain, and suffered martyrdom at Calahorra, but it is not 
known in what persecution. Their courage and cheerfulness 
seemed to increase with their sharpest torments, and to them 
fires and swords seemed sweet and agreeable. Prudentius says, 
that the persecutors burned the acts of their martyrdom, envying 
us the history of so glorious a triumph. He adds, that their 
festival was kept in Spain with great devotion by all ranks of 
people ; that strangers came in devout pilgrimages to visit their 
relics, praying to these patrons of the world; and that none 
poured forth their pure prayers to them who were not heard and 
their tears dried up : ^' For," says he, " they immediately hear 
every petition, and carry it to the ear of the eternal king." 
See Prudentius, de Coro, hymn 1. 



Fbagan or Fracan, father of this saint, was nearly related to 
Cathoun, one the kings or princes of Wales, and had by his wife 
Gwen three sons, Guethenoc, Jacut, and Winwaloe, whom they 
bound themselves by vow to consecrate to God from his birth, 
because he was their third son. The invasions of the Saxons, 
and the storms which soon after overwhelmed his own country, 
obliged him to seek a harbour in which he might serve God in 
peace. Biwald had retired a little before with many others, 
from Wales into Armorica, and had been there kindly received ; 
several Brittons, who had followed the tyrant Maximus, having 
settled in that country long before. Fragan therefore trans- 
ported thither his whole family, about the middle of the fifth 
century, and fixed his habitation at a place called from him to 


this day, Plou-fragan, situated on the river Gouet, which ancient 
British and Gaulish word signifies blood. All accounts of our 
saint agree that his two elder brothers were born in Great 
Britain, but some place the birth of St. Winwaloc, and of his 
sister Creirvie, much younger than him, in Armorica. The pious 
parents brought up their children in the fear of God, but out of 
fondness delayed to place Winwaloe in a monastery, till he was 
now grown up. At length, touched by God, the father conducted 
him to the monastery of St. Budoc, in the isle of Laurels,* now 
called Isleverte, or Green Island, not far from the isle of Brehat. 
St, Budoc was an abbot in Great Britain, eminent for piety and 
learning, and flying from the swords of the Saxons, took refuge 
among his countrymen in Armorica, and in this little island 
assembled several monks, and opened a famous school for youth. 
Under his discipline Winwaloe made such progress, that the holy 
abbot appointed him superior over eleven monks, whom he sent 
to lay the foundation of a new monastery. They travelled 
through Domnonea, or the northern coast of Brittany, and finding 
a desert island near the mouth of the river Aven, now called 
Chateaulin, they built themselves several little huts or cells. 
From these holy inhabitants the name of Tibidy, that is, House 
of Pra5^ers, was given to that island, which it atill retains. This 
place is exposed to so violent winds and storms, that after three 
years St. Winwaloe and his community abandoned it, and built 
themselves a monastery on the continent, in a valley sheltered 
from the winds, called Landevenech, three leagues from Brest, on 
the opposite side of the bay. Grallo, count of Cornouailles, in 
which province this abbey is situated, in the diocess of Quimper- 
Corentin, gave the lands, and was at the expense of the foundation 
of this famous monastery. 

St, Winwaloe, from the time he left his father's house, never 
wore any other garments but what were made of the skins of goats, 
and under these a hair shirt; day and night, winter and summer, 
his clothing was the same. In his monastery neither wheat-bread 
nor wine was used, but for the holy sacrifice of the mass. No 
other drink was allowed to the community but water, which was 
sometimes boiled with a small decoction of certain wild herbs. 
The monks eat only coarse barley-bread, boiled herbs and roots* 
ur barley-meal and herbs mixed, except on Saturdays and Son- 

* Laureaca. 

VOL. in. c 

22 ST. WINWALOK, i. [MARCH 3. 

days, on which they were allowed cheese and shell-fish, but of 
these the saint never tasted himself. His coarse barley-bread 
he always mingled with ashes, and their quantity he doubled in 
Lent, though even then it must have been very small, only to serve 
for mortification, and an emblem of penance. In Lent he took 
his refreshment only twice a week ; his bed was composed of the 
rough bark of trees, or of sand, with a stone for his pillow. 
From the relaxation in the rule of abstinence on Saturdays, it is 
evident that this monastic rule, which was the same in substance 
with that received in other British, Scottish, and Irish monas- 
teries, was chiefly borrowed from Oriental rules, Saturday being 
a fast-day according to the discipline of the Roman church. 
This rule was observed at Landevenech, till Lewis le Debonnaire, 
for the sake of uniformity, caused that of St. Benedict to be 
introduced there in 818. This house was adopted into the congre- 
gation of St. Maur, in 1636. St. Winwaloe was sensible that 
the spirit of prayer, is the soul of a religious state and the comfort 
and support of all those who are engaged in it : as to himself, 
his prayer, either mental or vocal, was almost continual, and so 
fervent, that he seemed to forget that he lived in a mortal body. 
From twenty years of age till his death he never sat in the 
church, but always prayed either kneeling or standing unmoved, 
in the same posture, with his hands lifted up to heaven, and bis 
whole exterior bespoke the profound veneration with which he 
was penetrated. He died on the 3rd of March, about the year 
629, in a very advanced age. His body was buried in his own 
church, which he had built of wood, on the spot upon which the 
abbatial house now stands. These relics were translated into the 
new church when it was built, but during the ravages of the 
Normans they were removed to several places in France, and at 
length into Flanders. At present the chief portions are preserved 
at Saint Peter's, at Blandinberg, at Ghent, and at Montreuil in 
Lower Picardy, of which he is titular patron. In Picardy, he is 
commonly called St. Vignevaley, and more commonly Walovay ; 
in Brittany, Guignole, or more frequently Vennole; in other 
parts of France, Guingalois ; in England Winwaloe or Winwaloe. 
His name occurs in the English litany of the seventh age, pub- 
lished by Mabillon.(l) He is titular saint of St. Guingualoe, a 
priory at Chateau du Loir, dependant on Marmoutier at Tours, 
and of several churches and parishes in France. His father, St 
(1) Mabil. in Analect 

March 4.] st. casimir. 23 

Fracan, is titular saint of a parish in the diocess of St. Brieuc, 
called Ploa-Fragan, of which he is said to have been lord, and of 
another in the diocess of Leon, called St. Frogan ; also, St. Gwen 
his mother, of one in the same diocess called Ploe-Gwen, and 
of another in that of Quimper. In France she is usually called 
Saint Blanche, the British word Gwen signifying Blanche or 
White. His brothers are honoured in Brittany, St. Guethenoc 
on the 5th of November, and St. Jacut, or James, on the 8th of 
February and the 3rd of March ; the latter is patron of the abbey 
of St. Jagu, in the diocess of Dol. St. Balay, or Valay, chief 
patron of the parish of Plou-balai, in the diocess of St. Malo, and 
a St. Martin are styled disciples of St. Winwaloe, and before 
their monastic profession were lords of Rosmeur,and Ros-madeuc. 
Some other disciples of our saint are placed in the calendars of 
several churches in Brittany, as St. Guenhael his successor, St. 
Idunet or Yonnet, St. Dei, &c. See the ancient life of St. Win- 
waloe, the first of the three given by BoUandus and Henschenius ; 
that in Surius and Cressy not being genuine. See also Baillet 
and Lobineau, Lives of the Saints of Brittany, p. 43 and 48. 


He flourished in great sanctity in the isle of Aran, on the west of 
Scotland, in the seventh century, and from him a neighbouring 
small island is called to this day St. Lamalisse's Isle. See MS. 
Memoirs in the Scottish college at Paris. 


From his life compiled by Zachary Ferrier, legate of Leo X., in Poland, 
thirty -six years after his death ; and an authentic relation of his miracles, 
with many circumstances of his life, by Gregory Swiecicki, canon ot 
Vilna ; also the Commentary of Henschenius, p. 337* 

A.D. 1483. 

St. Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of 
Casimer III., king of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter 
to the emperor Albert II., a most virtuous woman, who died in 
1506. He was born in 1458, on the 5th of October. From bJs 

24 8T. CASiMiB. [March 4. 

childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor 
was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of 
extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all 
bishoprics, and other dignities of the church and state, which 
were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected 
king of Bohemia, in 1471, and became king of Hungary in 1490. 
Our saint was the second son : John Albert, the third son, 
succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and 
Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. 
Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to 
the holy man who was their preceptor, that they could not bear 
to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his 
pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his 
age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror 
of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts. His 
clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. 
His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable 
part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion 
of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before 
the church-doors, and in the morning waited before them till 
they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under 
a eense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united 
to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted 
cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He 
respected the least ceremonies of the church : everything that 
tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly 
devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought 
of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of 
love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of 
the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and 
attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his 
singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at 
least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a 
copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love 
for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are 
his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and 
employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, 
king of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion 
made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one. 

The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with 
Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniados, begged 

March 4.] st. casimib. 25 

the king of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on 
the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was 
very unwilling to consent ; but in compliance with his father's 
will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to 
the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed 
an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all 
dijQferences were accommodated between him and his people, and 
that Pope Sixtus IV. had sent an embassy to divert his father 
from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difl&culty 
obtained his father's consent so to do. However, as his dropping 
this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to 
increase his affiction by appearing before him, he did not go 
directly to Cracow, but retired to the castle of Dobzki, three 
miles from that city, where he continued three months in the 
practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt 
against the king of Hungary, in which obedience to his father's* 
command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very 
young, he could never be engaged to resume it by a fresh 
pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders 
and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after 
this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner an he 
had done before. 

He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding 
the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, 
upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to pre- 
serve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he 
foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by 
redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments 
of the church, he made a happy end at Tilna, the capital of 
Lithuania, on the 4th of March, l-fo2, being twenty-three year» and 
five months old. He was buried in the church of St 8tani«]au». 
So many were the miracles wroaght by bin intercc'SHion, that 
Swiecicki, a canon of Tilna, wrote a whole volume of th^'m from 
good memoirs, in 1604. He was canonized by Poi><!f Ja*o X, wh()%(t 
legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the «aiDt'» Hf«, Urn 
body and all the rich stuffs it wa» wrapfi^d in, were (fmni qmUt 
entire, and exhaling a sweet smell, one bandr«d sa$d twenty ye^n 
after his death, notwithstanding the exeeiunve utfAMure <4 tfi« 
vault. It is honoured in a large rich ebapel of tui^rbk, Will on 
purpoae in that church* St Ca«imir is the palron <^Pc^i4ii4^ tuni 
several other places, and w proymfi to y-jnth $m % pis^ftk^U^M 

26 ST. CASIMIB. [MlECH 4. 

pattern of parity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel 
\n St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Caramir, King of 
Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, 
retired to Paris, and died abbot of St. Germain's, in 1668. 

What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a 
Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God 
desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a 
just idea of this immense happiness and dignity, must look upon 
all the glittering baubles of this world as empty and vain, and 
consider everything in this life barely as it can advance or hinder 
the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and 
glorious state, because scarcely any one seeks it with his whole 
heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and 
die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon 
any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a 
soul upon the ruins of self-love : so long as this reigns, it raises 
insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire 
of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he 
animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in 
all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and 
inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy hea- 
venly king, hold their full sway? how many secret disorders and 
irregular attachments are cherished? how much is found of self- 
love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves 
are infected ? 

The sovereign king of men and their merciful Redeemer is 
properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, 
and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is 
opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to 
subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any 
venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty 
into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in 
which they constantly live and by the constant attention with which 
they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost 
earnestness that God may deliver them from all the power of 
the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire 
of his grace and love ; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect 
manner in all their actions, is their most earnest desire and 
hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in 
this life, those who are thus liberal towards him ! St. Casimir, 
who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the 

heaTKjj rraof^ jiaciif £ iJL ■f^ruT'T ;3>nirT sue Sicxi";sw '^::i 
Mhaiy.j murtj mc iZ rLrsdws^ "ii:ui ri:i *3j£ t»xc*^-: :^ £ V£ 
Mheat iiify iitar: Jltt rs»paon ff^ G/i£ » irari ,|eM ,' V:;i 

prefer liis j.>LrHi,'r. zz aZ ea-nijj tiLrSiics ! 


Aa>. SSL 

St. Lrcius was a Rrcsaa tr birii, aai one cf ibe cZ-eK^r of tJwit 
diurch osdcr SS- F&bi«n asd CcraeliTS. This laHer bein* 
crowned with icajiyrdr'Si, in ^2, St. Lcdus socteeded him in the 
pontificate. Tlie emperor Galhis haring renewed the perseculivMi 
of his predecessor Dedos, at least in R<»ne, this holy pope was n« 
sooner placed in the chair of St. Peter, hut was banished with 
several others, though to what place is uncertain. ** Thus,** 
says St. Dionysins ^ Alexandria, ''did Gallns deprive hirosc^H 
of the snccoor rf heaven, by expelling those who every day 
prayed to God for his peace and prosperity." St, Cyprian wrote 
to St. Lndos to congratnlate him both on his promotion, and for 
the grace of suffering banishment for Christ, Our saint had beeu 
but a short time in exile, when he was recalled with his compa« 
uions to the incredible joy of the people, who went out of Rome in 
crowds to meet him. St. Cjrprian wrote to him a second letter of 
congratulation on this occasion.(l) He says, *' He had not lost the 
dignity of martyrdom because he had the will, as the three chil- 
dren in the furnace, though preserved by God from death: this 
glory added a new dignity to his priesthood, that a bishop assisted 
at God's altar, who exhorted his flock to martyrdom by hia u\v»i 
example as well as by his words. By giving such graci>s to bis 
pastors, God showed where his true church was : for ho denied 
the like glory of suffering to the Novatian heretics. The enemy 
of Christ only attacks the soldiers of Christ : heretics he knows 
to be already his own, and passes them by. He seeks to throw 
down those who stand against him." He adds in his own name 
and that of his colleagues : " We do not cease in our sacrlfloss 
and prayers (in sacrificiis et oratiouibus nostris) to God thd 

(i) Ep. 68. PameliD.~61. Fello. p. 272. 

28 ST. ADRIAN, B. M. [MARCH 4 

Father, and to Christ his son, our Lord, giving thanks and pray- 
ing together, that he who perfects all may consummate in you the 
glorious crown of your confession, who perhaps has only recalled 
you that your glory might not be hidden ; for the victim, which 
owes his brethren an example of virtue, and faith, ought to be 
sacrificed in their presence."(l) 

St. Cyprian, in his letter to Pope Stephen, avails himself of 
the authority of St. Lucius against the Novatian heretics, as 
having decreed against them, that those who were fallen were 
not to be denied reconciliation and communion, but to be 
absolved when they had done penance for their sin. Eusebius 
says, he did not sit in the pontifical chair above eight months ; 
and he seems, from the chronology of St. Cyprian's letters, to 
have sat only five or six, and to have died on the 4th of March, 
in 263, under G alius, though we know not in what manner. 
The most ancient calendars mention him on the 5th of March, 
others, with the Roman, on the 4th, which seems to have been 
the day of his death, as the 5th that of his burial. His body 
was found in the Catacombs, and laid in the church of St. 
Cecily in Rome, where it is now exposed to public veneration 
by the order of Clement YIIL 



When the Danes, in the ninth century, made frequent descents 
upon the coast of Scotland, plundered several provinces, and 
massacred great part of the inhabitants, this holy pastor often 
softened their fury, and converted several among them to Christ. 
In a most cruel invasion of these pirates, he withdrew into the 
isle of May, in the bay of the river Forth ; but the barbarians 
j.lundering also that island, discovered him there, and slew him 
with another bishop named Stalbrand, and a great number 
of others : the Aberdeen Breviary says six thousand six hundred. 
This massacre happened in the reign of Constantino II. in the 
year 874. A great monastery was built of polished stone in 
honour of St. Adrian, in the isle of May, the church of which, 
enriched with his relics, was a place of great devotion. See 
bishop Lesley, Hist. 1. 5. Breviar. Abcrdon. and Chronica 

(I) E|». 67. r£LineIio.-68. Fello. in Ed. Oxou. 




From Eusebius's History of the Martyrs of Palestine, c. 11. p. S4l. 
A.D. 309. 
In the seventh year of Dioclesian's persecution, continued by 
Galerius Maximianus, when Firmilian, the most bloody governor 
of Palestine, had stained Caesarea with the blood of many illus- 
trious martyrs, Adrian and Eubulus came out of the country called 
Magantia to Caesarea, in order to visit the holy confessors there. 
At the gates of the city they were asked, as others were, whither 
they were going, and upon what errand ? They ingenuously con- 
fessed the truth, and were brought before the president, who 
ordered them to be tortured, and their sides to be torn with iron 
hooks, and then condemned them to be exposed to wild beasts. 
Two days after, when the pagans at Caesarea celebrated the fes- 
tival of the public genius, Adrian was exposed to a lion, and not 
being despatched by that beast, but only mangled, was at length 
killed by the sword. Eubulus was treated in the same manner, 
two days later. The judge offered him his liberty if he would 
sacrifice to idols ; but the saint preferred a glorious death, and 
was the last who suffered in this persecution at Caesarea, which 
had now continued twelve years under three successive governors, 
Flavian, Urban, and Firmilian. Divine vengeance pursuing the 
cruel Firmilian, he was that same year beheaded for his crimes, 
by the emperor's order, as his predecessor Urban had been two 
years befure. 

It is in vain that we take the name of Christians, or pretend to 
follow Christ, unless we carry our crosses after him. It is in vain 
that we hope to share in his glory, and in his kingdom, if wv» 
accept not the condition(l). We cannot arrive at heaven by any 
other road but that which Christ walked, who bequeathed his cross 
to all his elect as their portion and inheritance in this world. 
None can be exempted from this rule, without renouncing his 
title to heaven. Let us sound our own hearts, and see if our 
sentiments are conformabl« to these principles of the holy religion 
which we profess. 

(1) Matt. xvi. 24 Lute xxiv. 2G. 

30 ST. KIARAN, B. C. [MABCH 0. 

Are our lives a constant exercise of patience under all trials, 
and a continual renunciation of our senses and corrupt inclina- 
tions, by the practice of self-denial and penance ? Are we not 
impatient under pain or sickness, fretful under disappointments, 
disturbed and uneasy at the least accidents which are disagree- 
able to our nature, harsh and peevish in reproving the faults of 
others, and slothful and unmortified in endeavouring to correct our 
own ? What a monstrous contradiction is it not to call ourselves 
followers of Christ, yet to live irreconcilable enemies to his cross I 
We can never separate Christ from his cross, on which he sacri- 
ficed himself for us, that he might unite us on it eternally to 
himself. Let us courageously embrace it, and he wiU be our 
comfort and support, as he was of his martyrs. 



Among the Irish saints who were somewhat older than Saint 
Patrick, the first and most celebrated is Saint Kiaran, whom the 
Irish style the first-born of their saints. According to some he 
was a native of the country of Ossory, according to others, of 
Cork. Usher places his birth about the year 352. Having 
received some imperfect information about the Christian faith, 
at thirty years of age he took a journey to Rome, that he might 
be instructed in its heavenly doctrine, and learn faithfully to 
practise its precepts. He was accompanied home by four holy 
clerks, who wer^ all afterwards bishops, their names are, 
Lugacius, Columban, Lugad, and Cassan. The Irish writers 
suppose him to have been ordained bishop at Rome ; but what 
John of Tinmouth affirms, seems far more probable, the he was 
one of the twelve, whom St. Patrick consecrated bishops in 
Ireland to assist him in planting the gospel in that Island. For 
his residence, he built himself a cell in a place encompassed 
with woods, near the water of Fuaran, which soon grew into a 
numerous monastery. A town was afterwards built there called 
Saigar, so named from the saiiit Sier'l^e^an. Here he converted 
to the faith his family and whole clan, which was that of the 
Osraigs, with many others. Having given the religious veil to 
liis mother, whose name was Lidan, he appointed her a cell of 
monastery near his own, called by the Irish Ceall Lidain. In 
his old age, being desirous to prepare himself for his passage to 

March 5.] st. kiaban, b. c. 31 

eternity in close retirement, he passed into Cornwall, where he 
led an eremitical life, near the Severn sea, fifteen miles from 
Padstow. Certain disciples joined him, and hy his words and 
example formed themselves to a true spirit of Christian piety 
and humility. In this place he closed his mortal pilgrimage hy a 
happy death : a town upon the spot is to this day called from 
him St. Piran's in the Sands, and a church is there dedicated 
to God in his memory, where was formerly a sanctuary near St. 
Mogun's church, upon St. Mogun's creek.* See John of Tin- 
mouth, Usher, &c. collected hy Henschenius; also Leland's 
Collections, published by Hearne, t. 3. p. 10. and 174. 

• A ereat number of other Irish saints retired to Cornwall, where many towns 
and charches still retain their names. Thus St. Burian's is so called from 
an Irish virgin called Buriana, to whose church and college here King 
Athelstan, in 936, granted the privilege of sanctuary. See Leland. Collect. 
t. 3. p. 7, 8, 

St. Ia 

Was daughter to an Irish nobleman, and a disciple of St. Barricus ; la and 
Erwine, and many others, came out of Ireland into ComwaJl, and landed at 
Pendinas, a stony rock and peninsula. At her request Dinan, a lord of tlie 
country, built there a church, since called St. les, eighteen miles from Saint 
Pi ran 's in the Sands, on the Severn. St. Carantoke's ia two miles above 
St. Piran's. St. les stands two miles from Lannant ; St. £rth is a parish 
church two miles above Lannant. St. Cua and St. Tedy's parishes are 
situated in the same part. St. Lide's Island, where her tomb was formerly 
visited by the whole country, still retains her name. See the Life of St. la 
quoted by Leland, Coll. t. 3. p. II. 

St. Breaca, V. -"S^^ 

She was oom in Ireland, on the borders of Leinster and Ulster, and conse- 
crated herself to God in a religious state under the direction of St. Bridget, 
who built for her a separate oratory, and afterwards a monastery, in a place 
since called the Field of Breaca. She afterwards passed into Cornwall in 
company with Abbot Sinnin, a disciple of St. Patrick, Maruan, a monk, 
Germoch, or Gemoch, King Elwen, Crewenna, and Helen. Saint Breaca 
landed at Kevyer, otherwise called Theodore's castle, situated on the eastern 
bank of the river Hayle, long since, as it seems, swallowed'up by the sands 
•m the coast of the northern sea of Cornwall. Tewder, a "Welchman, slew 
part of this holy company. St. Breaca proceeded to Pencair, a hill in Pembro 
parish, now commonly called St. Banka. She afterwards built two churches, 
one at Trenewith, the other at Talmeneth, two mansion places in the parish 
of Pembro, as is related in the life of St. Elwin. See Leland^s Itinerary, 
published by Hearne, p. 6. 

St. Gebmoee's church is three miles from St. Michael's Mount, by east- 
south-east, a mile from the sea. His tomb is yet seen there, and his chair 
is shown in the church-yard, and his well a little widiout the church-yard. 
Leland, ib. p. 6. 

St. Ma.wnot7n's church stands at the point of the haven, towards Fa.* 
.mouth, ib. p. 13. 




A DISCIPLE of St. Francis of Assisio, who received him into 
his Order in 1216, and sent him into Spain, though Wading 
calls him a layman. The spirit of poverty which he professed, 
he inherited of his holy father in the most perfect degree, and St. 
Francis commended his charity above all his other disciples. The 
gifts of prophecy and miracles rendered him illustrious both 
living and after his death, which happened in 1236. His head 
is kept at Villa Franca, in the diocess of Asturia, and his body at 
Todi in Italy, where he is honoured with a particular office ratified 
by Gregory IX. See Wading's Annals, published by Fonseca, 
at Rome, in 1732'. t. 2. p. 413, 414. also Henschenius, p. 418. 
Pope Benedict XIV. granted to the Franciscans for his festival 
the 5th of March. 



From Paul the Beacon, 1. 2. de Gest. Longob. c. 16. Henschenius, p. 463. 
Mahill. Annal. Ben. 1. 22. t. 2. & Act SS. Ord. Ben. t. 4. p. 184. Ceillier, 
t. 18. p. 176. His life, published by George Von. Eckart, Hist. Francioa 
Orient, t. 1. p. 912. Also Meurisse, Hist, des Eveques de Metz, 1. 2. 

A.D. 766. 

This saint, nobly born in Brabant, then called Hasbain, was 
educated in the abbey of St. Tron, and for his great learning and 
virtue was made referendary, chancellor of France, and prime 
minister, by Charles Martel, mayor of the French palace, in 737. 
He was always meanly clad from his youth ; he macerated his 
body by fasting, watching, and hair-cloths, and allowed his senses 
no snperfluous gratifications of any kind. His charity to all in 
distress seemed to know no bounds ; he supported an incredible 
number of poor, and was the protector and father of orphans and 
widows. Soon after the death of Charles Martel, he was choson 
bishop of Metz, in 742. Prince Pepin, the son and successor of 
Charles, uncle to our saint by his mother, Landrada, would not 
consent to his being ordained, but on the condition that he should 
still continue at the helm of the state. Chrodegang always 

March 6.] st. chrodegang, b. c. 33 

retained the same sweetness, humility, recollection; and simpli* 
city in his behaviour and dress. He constantly wore a rough 
hair-shirt under his clothes, spent great part of the night in 
watching, and usually at his devotions watered his cheeks with 
tears. Pope Stephen III. being oppressed by the Lombards, took 
refuge in France. Chrodegang went to conduct him over the 
Alps, and King Pepin was no sooner informed that he had passed 
these mountains in his way to France, but he sent Chafes his 
eldest son, to accompany him to Pont-yon, in Champagne, where 
the king was to receive him. The pope being three miles distant 
from that city, the king came to meet him, and having joined 
him alighted from his horse, and prostrated himself, as did the 
queen, his children, and the lords of his court ; and the king 
walked some time by the side of his horse to do him honour. 
The pope retired to the monastery of St. Denys ; and King Pepin, 
in the year 754, sent St. Chrodegang on an embassy to Astulph, 
king of the Lombards, praying him out of respect to the holy 
apostles not to commit any hostilities against Rome, nor to 
oblige the Romans to superstitions contrary to their laws, and 
to restore the towns which he had taken from the holy see ; but 
this embassy was without effect. The saint, in 755, converted 
the chapter of secular canons of his cathedral into a regular 
community, in which he was imitated by many other churches. 
He composed for his regular canons a rule, consisting of thirty- 
four articles. In the first he lays down humility for the foundation 
of all the rest.(l) He obliged the canons to confess at least twice 
a year to the bishop, before the beginning of Advent and Lent.(2) 
But these churches, even that of Metz, have again secularized 
themselves. The saint built and endowed the monasteries of 
St. Peter, that of Gorze, and a third in the diocess of Worms, 
called Lorsh or Laurisham. He died on the 6th of March, in 
766, and was buried at Gorze, to which by his will, which is still 
extant, he demised several estates. He is named in the French, 
German, and Belgic Martyrologies. 

The zeal of St. Chrodegang in restoring the primitive and 
apostolic spirit in the clergy, particularly their fervour and 
devotion in the ministry of the altar, is the best proof of his 

(1) Ch. 14. 

(2) See the other regulations abridged in Fleury^ &c. the entire rule 
published genaine in Le Cointe's AnnalB, t. 6. and m the later editions cl 
the councils. 

d4 B. COLETTE, V. A. IMaRCH 6. 

ardour to advance the divine honour. To pay to Almighty God 
the public homage of praise and love, in the name of the whole 
church, is a function truly angelical. Those, who by the divine 
appointment are honoured with this sublime charge resemble 
those glorious heavenly spirits who always assist before the 
throne of God. What ought to be the sanctity of their lives ! 
how pure their affections, how perfecfly disengaged from all 
inordinate attachments to creatures, particularly how free from 
the least filth of avarice, and every other vice ! All Christians 
have a part in this heavenly function. 


From her life, written by her confessor, Peter de Vaux. See Helyot, Hist, 
des Ord. Belig. t. 7> p. 98. Mirseus and Barbaza, Vies des Saints du 
Tiers Ordre de St. Fran9ois, t. 2. p. 51. 

A.D. 1447. 

Colette Boilet, a carpenter's daughter, was born at Corbie, 
in Picardy, in 1380. Her parents, out of devotion to St. 
Nicholas, gave her the name of Colette, the diminutive of 
Nicholas. She was brought up in the love of humiliations and 
austerities. Her desire to preserve her purity without the 
least blemish made her avoid as much as possible all company, 
even of persons of her own sex, unless it was sometimes to 
draw them from the love of the world by her moving 
discourses, which were attended with a singular blessing from 
almighty God. Humility was her darling virtue ; and her 
greatest delight seemed to be in seeing herself contemned. 
She was so full of confusion at her own miseries and baseness, 
and was so contemptible in her own eyes, that she was 
ashamed to appear before any one, placed herself far below 
the greatest sinners, and studied by all sorts of humiliations 
to prevent the least motion of secret pride or self-conceit in 
her heart. She served the poor and the sick with an affection 
that charmed and comforted them. She lived in strict solitude 
in a small, poor, abandoned apartment in her father's house, 
and spent her time there in manual labour and prayer. Being 
very beautiful, she begged of GOd to change her complexion, 
and her face became so pale and thin that she should scarcely be 
known for the same person. Yet a certain majfesty of virtue, 
shining in her countenance, gave her charms conducive to the 

MAECH 6.] B. COLETTE, V. A. 35 

edification of others by the sweetness, modesty, and air of piety 
and divine love discernible in her looks. Her parents, T^ho, 
thoogh poor, were virtuous, and exceedingly charitable, accordhig 
to their abilities, and great peace-makers among their neighbours, 
seeing her directed by the Spirit of God, allowed her full liberty 
in her devotions. After their death she distributed the little they 
left her among the poor, and retired among the Beguines, devout 
societies of women, established in several parts of Flanders, 
Picardy, and Lorrain, who maintain themselves by the work 
of their hands, leading a middle kind of life between the 
secular and religious ; but make no solemn vows. Not finding 
this way of life austere enough, she, by her confessor's advice, 
took the habit of the third order of St. Francis, called the 
Penitents ; and, three years after, that of the mitigated Clares, 
or Urbanists, with the view of reforming that order, and 
reducing it to its primitive austerity. Having obtained of the 
abbot of Corbie a small hermitage, she spent in it three years 
in extraordinary austerity, near that abbey. After this, in 
order to execute the project she had long formed of re-estab- 
lishing the primitive spirit and practice of her order, she went 
to the convent at Amiens, and from thence to several others. 
To succeed in her undertaking, it was necessary that she should be 
vested with proper authority: to procure which she made a 
journey to Nice in Provence, to wait on Peter de Luna, who, in 
the great schism, was acknowledged pope by the French, under 
the name of Benedict XIH., and happened then to be in that 
city. He constituted her superioress- general of the whole order 
of St. Clare, with full power to establish in it whatever regulations 
she thought conducive to God's honour and the salvation of others. 
She attempted to revive the primitive rule and spirit of St. 
Francis in the convents of the diocesses of Paris, Beauvais, 
Noyon, and Amiens ; but met with the most violent opposition 
and was treated as a fanatic. She received all injuries with joy, 
and was not discouraged by human difficulties. Some time after 
sh^ met with a more favourable reception in Savoy, and her re- 
formation began to take root there, and passed thence into Bur- 
gundy, France, Flanders, and Spain. Many ancient houses 
received it, that of Besanzon being the first, and she lived to erect 
seventeen new ones. Several houses of Franciscan friars received 
the same. But Leo X., in 1617, by a special bull, united all the 
diiferent reformations of the Franciscans under the name of 


Obser van tines : and thus the distinction of Colettines is extinct. 
So great was her love of poverty, in imitation of that of Christ, that 
she never put on so much as sandals, going always barefoot, and 
would have no churches or convents but what were small and 
mean. Her habit was not only of most coarse stuff, but made of 
above a hundred patches sewed together. She continually incul- 
cated to her nuns the denial of their own wills in all things, 
as Christ, from his first to his last breath, did the will of his 
heavenly Father : saying, that all self-will was the broad way to 
hell. The sacred passion of Christ was the subject of her con- 
stant meditation. On Fridays, from six in the morning till six 
at night, she continued in this meditation, without eating or doing 
any other thing, but referring all her thoughts and affections to 
it with a flood of tears; also during the Holy- Week, and when- 
ever she assisted at mass ; she often fell into ecstasies when she 
considered it. She showed a particular respect to the holy cross ; 
but, above all, to Christ present in the blessed eucharist, when 
she appeared in raptures of adoration and love. She often 
purified her conscience by sacramental confession before she 
heard mass, to assist thereat with the greater purity of soul. 
Her zeal made her daily to pour fourth many fervent prayers 
for the conversion of sinners, and also for the souls in purga- 
tory, often with many tears. Being seized with her last sickness 
in her convent at Ghent, she received the sacraments of the 
church, foretold her death, and happily expired in her sixty- 
seventh year, on the 6th of March, in 1447. Her body is ex- 
posed to veneration in the church of that convent called Bethleem, 
in Ghent. She was never canonized, nor is she named in the 
Roman Martyrology ; but Clement VIII., Paul V., Gregory XIII., 
and Urban VIII. have approved of an office in her honour for 
the whole Franciscan order, and certain cities. Her body was 
taken up at Ghent, in 1747, and several miracles wrought on 
the occasion were examined by the ordinary of the place, who 
sent the process and relation of them to Rome. 


Hjs was an Irish or Scottish abbot, who, leaving his c^^n 
country, founded several monasteries in Austrasia, Burgundy, 
and Switzerland : the last was that of Sekingen, in an isle in the 
fthine^ now one of the four forest towns belonging to the house of 

March 6.] st. kyneburge, &c. .37 

Austria, In this monastery he died, in 538. He is the tutelar 
patron of the Swiss canton of Claris, who carry in their coat of 
arms his picture in the Benedictin habit, though he was not of 
that order. See Molanus, Addit. ad Usuard. Pantaleon, Pro- 
sopographiae Vir. lUustr. German, ad an. 602. King, in Calend, 
Wion, Lignum Vitae, 1. 3. 


He was immediate suc<5essor of St. Mungo in that see, estab- 
lished many nunneries in Scotland, and died in the province of 
Laudon, about the year 608, His relics were very famous in 
many churches in Scotland. See Adam King, in Calend. and the 
historians Boetius, Major Lesley, &c. 


The two first were daughters of Penda, the cruel pagan king 
of Mercia, and sisters to three successive Christian Kings, Peada, 
Wulfere, and Ethelred, and to the pious prince Merowald Kyne- 
burge, as Bede informs us,(l)was married to Alcfrid, eldest son 
of Oswi, and in his father's life-time king of Bernicia. They are 
said to have lived in perpetual continency. By his death she was 
left a widow in the bloom of life, and, renouncing the world, 
governed a nunnery which she built ; or, according to others, 
found built by her brother Wulfere, in a moist fenny place, on 
the confines of the counties of Huntingdon and Northampton, then 
called Dormundcaster, afterwards from her, Kyneburgecaster, now 
Caster. The author of her life in Capgrave says, that she lived 
here a mirror of all sanctity, and that no words can express the 
bowels of charity with which she cherished the souls which served 
God under her care ; how watchful she was over their comport- 
ment, and how zealous in instructing and exhorting them ; and 
with what floods of tears she implored for them the divine grace 
and mercy. She had a wonderfiil compassion for the poor, and 
strongly exhorted her royal brothers to alms-giving and works 
of mercy. Kyneswide and Kynedride (though many confound 
the latter with St. Kyneburge) were also daughters of Penda, left 
very young at his death. By an early consecration of their vir- 
ginity to God, they devoted themselves to his service, and both 
embraced a religious state. Kyneswide took the holy veil in the . 
nmnastery of Dormundcaster. 

(1) Bed. Hist 1. 3. c. 3.1. 
VOL. lU. D 


The bodies of these saints were translated to Peterborough, 
where their festival was kept on the 6th of March, together with 
fliat of Saint Tibba, a holy virgin, their kinswoman, who, having 
spent many years in solitude and devotion, passed to glory on 
the 13th of December. Camden informs us (I) that she way 
honoured with particular devotion at Rihal, a town near the river 
Wash, in Rutlandshire. See Ingulphus, Hist, p, 850. Will, of 
Malmesbury, 1. 4 de Pontif, p. 29. Capgrave and Harpsfield, 
saec. 7. c. 23. 


He was a noble Scotsman, son of count (or rather laird) Foker- 
strach, and travelling into France, he took the monastic habit at 
Saint Rennet's on the Loire. He afterwards reformed the monas- 
tery of St. Clement, at Metz, in 960, and died in a visit which he 
aiade to Adelaide, mother of the emperor Otho I, at Neristein, 
about the year 976. His relics are kept at St. Clement's, at Metz, 
and he is honoured on the 6th of March. See Mabillon, sec. 5. 
Ben. p. 480. and sec. 6. p. 28. Henschenius, and Calmet, Hist. 
deLor. 1.19. n. 67. p 1011. 



From his life, written by Bartholomew of Lucca, some time the saint's 
confessor : also another life, compiled for his canonization by William of 
Tocco, prior of Benevento, who had been personally acquainted with the 
saint, &G. See F, Touron, in his life of bt. Thomas, in quarto, Paris, 

A.D. 1274. 

The counts of Aquino, who have flourished in the kingdom of 
Naples these last ten centuries, derive their pedigree from a 
certain Lombard prince. They were allied to the kings of Sicily 
and Arragon, to St. Lewis of France, and many other sovereign 
houses .of Europe. Our saint's grandfather having married the 
bister of the emperor Frederick L he was himself grand nephew 
to that prince, and second cousin to the emperor Henry VI. and 

(1) Camden in Kutlandshire. 

March 7.] st. thomas of aquino, d. c. 39 

in the third degree to Frederick II.* His father, Landulph, was 
count of Aquino, and lord of Loretto and Belcastro : his mother 
Theodora was daughter to the count of Theate. The saint was 
born towards the end of the year 1226. St. Austin observes,(l) 
that the most tender age is subject to various passions, as of 
impatience, choler, jealousy, spite, and the like, which appear in 
children : no such thing was seen in Thomas. The serenity of 
his countenance, the constant evenness of his temper, his modesty 
and sweetness, were sensible marks that God prevented him 
with his early graces. The count of Aquino conducted him to 
the abbey of Mount Cassino, when he was but five years old, to 
be instructed by those good monks in the first principles of reli- 
gion and learning ; and his tutors soon saw with joy the rapidity 
of his progress, his great talents, and his happy dispositions to 
virtue. He was but ten years of age when the abbot told his 
father that it was time to send him to some university. The count, 
before he sent him to Naples, took him for some months to see 
his mother at his seat at Loretto, the place which about the end 
of that century grew famous -for devotion to our Lady. Thomas 
was the admiration of the whole family. Amidst so much com- 
pany, and so many servants, he appeared always as much 
recollected, and occupied on God, as he had been in the monastery ; 
he spoke little, and always to the purpose ; and he employed all 
his time in prayer, or serious and profitable exercises. His great 
delight seemed to be to intercede for, and to distribute, his parents' 
plentiful alms among the poor at the gate, whom he studied by 
a hundred ingenious contrivances to relieve. He robbed him- 
self of his own victuals for that purpose ; which his father having 
discovered, he gave him leave to distribute things at discretion, 
which liberty he made good us of for the little time he stayed. 
The countess apprehensive of the dangers her son's innocence 
might be exposed to in an academy, desired that he should per- 
ibrm his studies with a private preceptor under her own eyes ; 
but the father knowing the great advantages of emulation and 
mutual communication in studies, was determined to send him to 
(I) L, 1. Conf. c. 7. 

• St. Thomas was born at Belcastro : on his ancient illustrious pedigree 
ttiiQ its branches, which still flourish in Calabria, see Barrius, de Antiqui- 
tate et Situ Calabrise, with the notes of Thomas Aceti, 1. 4. c. 2. p. 2ii8, ^c. 
where he refutes theBollandists, who place his birth at Aquino in Campania, 
Oil the borders of that province. 


Naples, where the erajieror Frederick II. being exasperated 
against Bologna, had lately, in 1224, erected a university, for- 
bidding students to resort to any other in Italy. This immedi- 
ately drew thither great numbers of students, and with them 
disorder and licentiousness, like that described by St. Austin in 
the great schools of Carthage. (1) Thomas soon perceived the 
dangers, and regretted the sanctuary of Mount Cassino ; but by 
his extraordinary watchfulness, he lived here like the young 
Daniel in the midst of Babylon, or Toby in the infidel Ninive. 
He guarded his eyes with an extreme caution, shunned entirely 
all conversation with any women whatever, and with any young 
men whose steady virtue did not render him perfectly secure as 
(o their behaviour. Whilst others went to profane diversions, he 
retired into some church or into his closet, making prayer and 
study his only pleasure. He learned rhetoric under Peter 
IMartin, and philosophy under Peter of Hibernia, one of the most 
h arned men of his age, and with such wonderful progress, that 
he repeated the lessons more clearly than the master had ex- 
plained them : yet his greater care was to advance daily in the 
science of the saints, by holy prayer, and all good works. His 
humility concealed them ; but his charity and fervour sometimes 
betrayed his modesty, and discovered them, especially in his 
great alms, for which he deprived himself of almost all things, 
and in which he was careful to hide from his left-hand what his 
right did. 

The Order of St. Dominick, who had been dead twenty- two 
years, then abounded with men full of the spirit of God. The 
frequent conversations Thomas had with one of that body, a 
very interior holy man, filled his heart with heavenly devotion 
and comfort, and inflamed him daily with a more ardent lOve of 
God which so burned in his breast that at his prayers his counte- 
nance seemed one day, as it were, to dart rays of light, and he 
conceived a vehement desire to consecrate himself wholly to God 
in that Order. His tutor perceived his inclinations and informed 
the count of the matter, who omitted neither threats nor pro- 
mises to defeat such a design. But the saint, not listening to 
flesh and blood in the call of heaven, demanded with earnestness 
to be admitted into the Order, and accordingly received the 
habit in the convent of Naples, in 1243, being then seventeen 
Vi'-rs old. The Countess Theodora his mother, being informed 
(1) Conf. 1. 5. o. 8. 

March 7.] st. thomas of aqutno, d. c 41 

of it, set out for Naples to disengage him, if possible, from 
that state of life. Her son, on the first new's of her journey, 
begged his superiors to remove him, as they did first to the con- 
vent of St. Sabina in Rome, and soon after to Paris, out of tlie 
reach of his relations. Two of his brothers, Landulph and Rey- 
nolds, commanders in the emperor's army in Tuscany, by her 
directions so well guarded all the roads that he fell into their 
hands, near Acqua- pendente. They endeavoured to pull off his 
habit, but he resisted them so violently that they conducted him 
in it to the seat of his parents, called Rocca-Secca. The mother 
overjoyed at their success, made no doubt of overcoming her son .5 
resolution. She endeavoured to persuade him that to embrace 
such an Order, against his parents' advice, could not be the call 
of heaven ; adding ail manner of reasons, fond caresses, entrea- 
ties, and tears. Nature made her eloquent and pathetic. He 
appeared sensible of her affliction, but his constancy was not to be 
shaken. His answers were modest and respectful, but firm in 
showing his resolution to be the call of God, and ought conse- 
quently to take place of all other views whatsoever, even of his 
service any other way. At last, offended at his unexpected resis- 
tance, she expressed her displeasure in very choleric words, and 
ordered him to be more closely confined and guarded, and that 
no one should see him but his two sisters. The reiterated solici- 
tations of the young ladies were a long and violent assault. They 
omitted nothing that flesh and blood could inspire on such an 
occasion, and represented to him the danger of causing the death 
oi" his mother by grief. He on the contrary spoke to them in so 
moving a manner, on the contempt of the world, and the love of 
virtue, that they both yielded to the force of his reasons, for his 
quitting the world, and by his persuasion, devoted themselves to 
a sincere practice of piety. 

This solitude furnished him with the most happy opportunity 
for holy contemplation and assiduous prayer. Some time after, 
his sisters conveyed to him some books, viz., a bible, Aristotle's 
liOgics, and the works of the Master of the Sentences. During 
this interval his two brothers, Landulph and Reynold, returning 
home firom the army, found their mother in the greatest affliction, 
and the young novice triumphant in his resolution. They would 
needs undertake to overcome him, and began their assault by 
shutting him up in a tower of the castle. They tore in pieces 
his habit on his back, and after bitter reproaches and dreadful 


threats they left him, hoping his confinemeni, and the mornn- 
cations every one strove to give him, would shake his resolution. 
This not succeeding, the devil suggested to these two young 
officers a new artifice for diverting him from pursuing his vocation. 
They secretly introduced one of the most beautiful and most 
insinuating young strumpets of the country into his chamber, 
promising her a considerable reward in case she could draw him 
into sin. She employed all the arms of Satan to succeed in so 
detestable a design. The saint, alarmed and affrighted at the 
danger, profoundly humbled himself, and cried out to God most 
earnestly for his protection ; then snatching up a firebrand 
struck her with it, and drove her out of his chamber. After this 
victory, not moved with pride, but blushing with confusion for 
having been so basely assaulted, he fell on his knees and thanked 
God for his merciful preservation, consecrated to him anew his 
chastity, and redoubled his prayers, and the earnest cry of his 
heart with sighs and tears, to obtain the grace of being always 
faithful to his promises. Then falling into a slumber, as the 
most ancient historians of his life relate, (1) he was visited by 
two angels, who seemed to gird him round the waist with a ccrd 
so tight that it awoke him, and made him cry out. His guards 
ran in, but he kept his secret to himself. It was only a little 
before his death that he disclosed this incident to F. Reynold, 
his confessor, adding that he had received this favour about 
thirty years before, from which time he had never been annoyed 
with temptations of the flesh ; yet he constantly used the utmost 
caution and watchfulness against that enemy, and he would 
otherwise have deserved to forfeit that grace. One heroic voctory 
sometimes obtains of God a recompense and triumph of this kind. 
Our saint having suffered in silence this imprisonment and per^ 
secution upwards of a twelve month, some say two years, at 
length, on the remonstrances of Pope Innocent IV. and the 
emperor Frederick, on account of so many acts of violence in his 
regard, both the countess and his brothers began to relent. The 
Dominicans of Naples being informed of this, and that his 
mother was disposed to connive at measures that might be taken 
to procure his escape, they hastened in disguise to Rocca-Secca. 
where his sister, knowing that the countess no longer opposed his 
escape, contrived his being let down out of his tower in a basket. 
He was received by his brethren in their arms, and carried with 
(1) Gul. Tocco. Bern. Guid. Antonin. Mai vend. 


joy to Naples. The year following lie there made his profession, 
looking on that day as the happiest of his whole life in which he 
made a sacrifice of his liherty that he might belong to God alone. 
But his mother and brothers renewed tieir complaints to Pope 
Innocent IV., who sent for Thomas to Rome, and examined him 
on the subject of his vocation to the state of religion, in their 
presence ; and having received entire satisfaction on this head, 
the pope admired his virtue, and approved of his choice of that 
state of life, which from that time he was suffered to pursue in 
peace. Albertus Magnus, teaching then at Cologne, the general, 
John the Teutonic, took the saint with him from Rome to Paris, 
and thence to Cologne. Thomas gave all his time, which was 
not employed in devotion and other duties, to his studies, 
retrenching part of that which was allowed for his meals and 
sleep, not out of a vain passion, or the desire of applause, but for 
the advancement of God's honour and the interests of religion, 
according to what he himself teaches. (1) 

His humility made him conceal his progress and deep pene- 
tration, insomuch that his school-fellows thought he learned 
nothing and on account of his silence, called him The Dumb Ox, 
and the Great Sicilian Ox. One of them even offered to explain 
his lessons to him, whom he thankfully listened to without 
speaking, though he was then capable of teaching him. They who 
know how much scholars and masters usually seek to distinguish 
themselves, and display their science, will give to so uncommon 
a humility its due praise. But the brightness of his genius, 
his quick and deep penetration and learning were at last dis- 
covered, in spite of all his endeavours to conceal them : for his 
master Albertus, having propounded to him several questions 
on the most knotty and obscure points, his answers, which the 
duty of obedience extorted, astonished the audience; and 
Albertus, not able to contain his joy and admiration, said : ^' We 
call him the dumb ox, but he will give such a bellow in learning 
as will be heard all over the world." This applause made no 
impression on the humble saint. He continued the same in 
simplicity, modesty, silence, and recollection because his heart 
was the same ; equally insensible to praises and humiliations, full 
of nothing but of God and his own insufficiency, never reflecting 
on his own qualifications, or on what was the opinion of others 
concerning him. In his first year, under Albertus Magnus, he 
(1) 2. 2diB. q. 188. a 6. 

44 gT. THOMAS or AQUINO, D. C. [MaRCH 7. ' 

wrote comments on Aristotle's Ethics. The general chapter of 
the Dominicans,, held at Cologne in 1245, deputed Albertus to 
teach at Paris, in their college of St. James, which the university 
had given them ; and it is from that college they are called in 
France Jacobins. St. Thomas was sent with him to continue his 
studies there. His school exercises did not interrupt his prayer. 
By an habitual sense of the divine presence, and devout aspira- 
tions, he kept his heart continually raised to God ; and in difficult 
points redoubled with more earnestness his fervour in his prayers 
than his application to study. This he found attended with such 
success, that he often said he had learned less by books than 
before his crucifix, or at the foot of the altar. His constant 
attention to God always filled his soul with joy, which appeared 
in his very countenance, and made his conversation 'altogether 
heavenly. His humility and obedience were most remarkable 
in all things. One day whilst he read at table, the corrector, by 
mistake, bid him read a word with a false quantity, and he readily 
obeyed, though he knew the error. When others told him he 
ought notwithstanding to have given it the right pronunciation, 
his answer was : ** It matters not how a word is pronounced, but 
to practise on all occasions humility and obedience is of the 
greatest importance." He was so perfectly mortified, and dead 
to his senses, that he eat without reflecting either on the kind or 
quality of his food, so that after meals he often knew not what 
he had been eating. 

In the year 1248, being twenty-two years of age, he was 
appointed by the general chapter to teach at Cologne, together 
with his old master Albertus, whose high reputation he equalled 
in his very first lessons. He then also began to publish his 
first works, which consist of comments on the Ethics, and other 
philosophical works of Aristotle. No one was more courteous 
and affable, but it was his principle to shun all unnecessary visits. 
To prepare himself for holy orders he redoubled his watchings, 
prayer, and other spiritual exercises. His devotion to the blessed 
Sacrament was extraordinary. He spent several hours of the 
day and part of the night before the altar, humbling himself in 
acts of profound adoration, and melting with love in contem- 
plating the immense charity of the Man-God, whom he there 
adored. In saying mass he seemed to be in raptures, and often 
quite dissolved in tears ; a glowing frequently appeared in his 
eyes and countenance which showed the ardour with which his 


heart burned within him. His devotion was most fervent during 
the precious moments after he had received the divine mysteries ; 
and after saying mass he usually served at another, or at least 
heard one. This fire and zeal appeared also in his sermons, at 
Cologne, Paris, Rome, and in other cities of Italy. He was every 
where heard as an angel ; even the Jews ran of their own accord 
to hear him, and many of them were converted. His zeal made 
him solicitous, in the first place, for the salvation of his relations. 
His example and exhortations induced them to an heroic practice 
of piety. His eldest sister consecrated herself to God in St. 
Mary's at Capua, and died abbess of that monastery : the younger, 
Theodora, married the count of Marsico, and lived and died 
great virtue ; as did his mother. His two brothers, Landulph, 
and Reynold, became sincere penitents ; and having some time 
after left the emperor's service, he, in revenge, burnt Aquino, 
their seat, in 1250, and put Reynold to death; the rest were 
obliged to save themselves by a voluntary banishment, but were 
restored in 1268. St. Thomas, after teaching four years at 
Cologne, was sent, in 1252, to Paris. His reputation for perspi- 
cuity and solidity drew immediately to his school a great number 
of auditors.* St. Thomas with great reluctancy, compelled by 

• The maimer of teaching then was not as it is generally at present, by 
dictating lessons, which the scholars write ; but it was according to the 
practice that still obtains in some public schools, as in Padua, &c. The 
master delivered his exjplanation like an harafngue ; the scholars retained 
what they could, and often privately took down short notes to help their 
memory. Academical degrees were then also very different from what they 
now are ; being conferred on none but those who taught. To be Master of 
Arts, a man must have studied six years at least, and be twenty-one years 
old. And to be qualified for teaching divinity, he must have studied eight 
years more, and be at least thirty-five years old. Nevertheless, St. Thomas, 
by a dispensation of the university, on account of his distinguished merit, 
was allowed to teach at twenty-five. The usual way was ror one named 
bachelor to explain the Master of the Sentences for a year in the school of 
some doctor, upon whose testimony, after certain rigorous public examina- 
tions, and other formalities, the bachelor was admitted to the degree of 
licentiate; which gave him the license of a doctor, to teach or hold a school 
himself. Another year, which was likewise employed in expounding the 
Master of the Sentences, completed the degree of doctor, which the candidate 
received from the chancellor of the university, and then opened a school in 
form, with a bachelor to teach under him. In 1253 St. Thomas began to 
teach as licentiate ; but a stop was put to his degrees for some time, by a 
violent disagreement between the regulars, principally Dominicans and 
Franciscans, and the university which had at first knitted them into 
theirl>ody, and even given the JJominicans a college. In these disputes, 
St. Thomas was not spared, but he for a long time had recourse to no other 
▼indication of himself than that of modestv and silence. On Palm-Sunday 


holy obedience, consented to be admitted doctor, on the 23rd of 
October, in 1257, being then thirty-one years old. The professors 
of the university of Paris being divided about the question of the 
accidents remaining really, or only in appearance, in the blessed 
Sacrament of the altar, they agreed in 1258, to consult our saint. 
The young doctor, not puffed up by such an honour, applied 
himself first to God by prayer, then he wrote upon that question 
the treatise stiU extant, and carrying it to the church, laid it on 
the altar. The most ancient author of his life assures ns, that 
while the saint remained in prayer on that occasion, some of the 
brethren who were present, saw him raised a little above the 

The holy king, St. Lewis, had so great an esteem for St. 
Thomas, that he consulted him in affairs of state, and ordinarily 
informed him, the evening before, of any affair of importance 
that was to be treated of in council, that he might be the more 
ready to give advice on the point. The saint avoided the honour 
of dining with the king as often as he could excuse himself: and^ 
when obliged to assist at court, appeared there as recollected as 
in his convent. One day at the king's table, the saint cried out : 
•* The argument is conclusive against the Manichees."(2) His 
j)rior, being with him, bade him remember where he was. The 
saint would have asked the king's pardon, but that good prince, 
fearing he should forget the argument that had occured to his 

(1) Gul. Tocco. (2) Conclosum est coutra Manichseos. 

he was preaching in the Dominican's church of St. James, when a beadle 
coming in commanded silence, and read a long written invective against him 
and his colleagues. When he had done, the saint, without speaking one 
word to justify himself or his Order, continued his sermon with the greatest 
tranquillity and unconcern of mind. William de Saint- Amour, the most 
violent among the secular doctors, published a book, On the dangers of the 
latter times, a bitter invective against the mendicant Orders, which St. 
Lewis sent to Pope Alexander IV. SS. Thomas and Bonaventure were sent 
into Italy to defend their Orders. And to confute that book, Saint Thomas 
published his nineteenth Opusculum, with an Apology for the mendicant 
Orders, showing they lay under no precept that alt should apply themselves 
to manual labour, and that spiritual occupations were even preferable. The 
pope, upon this apology, condemned the book, and also another, called the 
Eternal Gospel, in defence of the error of the abbot Joachim, who had 
advanced that the church was to have an end^ and be succeeded by a new 
church which should be formed perfectly according to the Spirit: this heresy 
nnd the errors of certain other fanatics were refuted by our saint at Rome. 
On his return to Paris, a violent storm terrified all the mariners and passen- 
gers, only Thomas appeared without the least fear, and continued in quiet 
prayer till the tempest had ceased. William de Saint Amour being banished 
raris, peace was restored to the university. 

March 7.1 st. thomas of aquino, d. c. 47 

miad, caused his secretary to write it down for him. In the year 
1259 St. Thomas assisted at the thirty-sixth general chapter 
of his order, held at Valenciennes which deputed him in con- 
junction with Albertus Magnus and three others to draw up 
rules for studies, which are still extant in the acts of that chapter. 
Returning to Paris, he there continued his lectures. Nothing 
was more remarkable than his meekness on all occasions. His 
temper was never ruffled in the heat of any dispute, nor by any 
insult. It was owing to this sweetness, more than to his 
invincible force of reasoning, that he brought a young doctor to 
retract on the spot a dangerous opinion, which he was main- 
taining a second time in his thesis. In 1261, Urban IV. called 
St. Thomas to Rome, and, by his order, the general appointed 
him to teach here. His holiness pressed him with great impor- 
tunity to accept of some ecclesiastical dignity, but he knew 
how much safer it is to refuse than to accept a bishopric. The 
pope, however, obliged him always to attend his person. Thus 
it happened that the saint taught and preached in all the towns 
where that pope ever resided, as in Rome, Viterbo, Orvieto, 
Fondi, and Perugia. He also taught at Bologna, Naples. &c.* 

• The works of St. Thomas are partly philosophical, partly theological ; 
with some comments on the holy scriptures, and several treatises of piety. 
The elegance of Plato gave his philosophy the greater vogue among the 
Gentiles ; and the most Teamed of the Christian fathers were educated m the 
maxims of his school. His noble sentiments on the attributes of the Deity, 
particularly his providence, and his doctrine on the rewards and punishments 
ill a future state, seemed favourable to religion. Nor can it be doubted that 
he had learned, in his travels in Egypt and Phoenicia, many traditional 
truths delivered down from the patriarchal ages, before the corruptions of 
idolatry. On the other hand, the philosophy of Aristotle was much less in 
request among the heathens, was silent as to all traditional truths, and con* 
tained some glaring errors, which several heretics of the first ages adopted 
against the gospel. On which account he is called by TertuUian the patriarch 
of heretics, andhis works were proscribed by a council of Paris, about the year 
1209. Nevertheless it must be acknowledged, by all impartial judges, that 
Aristotle was the greatest and most comprehensive genius of antiquity, and 
perhaps, of any age : and he was the only one who bad laid down complete 
rules, and explained the laws of reasoning, and had given a thorough system 
of philosophy. Boetius had penetrated the depth of his genius, and the use- 
fulness of his logics ; yet did not redress his mistakes. Human reasoning 
is too weak without the light of revelation ; and Aristotle, by relying too 
much on it, fell into the same gross errors. Not only many ancient heretics, 
but also several in the twelfth and thirteenth ages, as Peter Abaillard, the 
Albigenses, and other heretics made a bad use of his philosophy. But above 
all, the Saracens of Arabia and Spain wrote with incredible subtilty on his 
principles. St. Thomas opposed tne enemies of truth with their own weapons, 
and employed the philesophy of Aristotle in defence of the faith, in which 
hi succeeded to a miracle. He discerned and confuted his errors, and set io 


The fruits of his preaching were no less wonderful than 
those of his pen. Whilst he was preaching on Good Friday 
on the love of God for man, and our ingratitude to him, his 
whole auditory melted into tears to such a degree, that he 
was obliged to stop several times, that they might recover 
themselves. His discourse on the following Sunday concerning 
tlie glory of Christ, and the happiness of those who rise with 
him by grace, was no less pathetic and affecting. "William ot 
Tocco adds, that as the saint was coming out of St. Peter's 
church the same day, a woman was cured of the bloody flux 
by touching the hem of his garment. The conversion of two 
considerable Rabbins seemed still a greater miracle. St. Thomas 

a clear and new light the great truths of reason which that philosopher had 
often wrapt up in obscurity. Thus Aristotle, who had been called the terror 
of Christians, in the hands of Thomas, became orthodox, and furnished faith 
with new arms against idolatry and atheism. For this admirable doctor, 
though he had only a bad Latin translation of the works of that philosopher, 
has corrected his errors, and shown that his whole subtle system of philosophy, 
as far as it is grounded in truth, is subservient to divine revelation: this he 
has executed Sirough the nicest metaphysical speculations, in the five first 
volumes of his works. He every where strikes out a new tract for himself, 
and enters into the most secret recesses of this shadowy region; so as to 
appear new even on known and beaten subjects. For his writings are ori- 
ginal efforts of genius and reflection, and every point he handles in a manner 
tliat makes it appear new. If his speculations are some times spun fine, and hii 
divisions run to niceties, this was the fault of the age in which he lived, and 
of the speculative refining geniuses of the Arabians, whom he had under- 
taken to pursue, and confute throughout their whole system. His comments 
on the four books of the Master of me Sentences, contain a methodical course 
of theology, and make the sixth and seventh volumes of his works ; the tenth, 
eleventh and twelfth give us his Summ, or incomparable abridged body of 
divinity, though this work he never lived to finish. Among the fathers, St. 
Austin is principally his guide; so that the learned cardinals, Norris and 
Aguirre, call St. Thomas his most faithful interpreter. He draws the rales 
of practical duties and virtues principally from the morals of Saint Gregory 
on Job. He composed his Summ against the Gentiles, at the request of 
St. Raymund of Pennafort, to serve the preachers in Spain in converting the 
Jews and Saracens to the faith. He wrote comments on most parts of the 
holy scriptures, especially on the epistles of St. Paul, in which latter he 
seemed to outdo himself. By the order of Pope Urban IV. he compiled the 
office of the blessed sacrament, which the church uses to this day, on the 
feast, and during the octave, of Corpus- Christi. His Opuscula, or lesser 
treatises, have in view the Greek Schismatics and several heresies ; or discuss 
various points of philosophy and theology ; or are comments on the creed, 
sacraments, decalogue,Lord'8 prayer and Hail Mary. In his treatises of piety 
fie reduces the rules of an interior life to these two gospel maxims : first, That 
we must strenuously labour, by self-denial and mortification, to extinguish m 
our hearts all the sparks of pride, and the inordinate love of creatures ; 
secondly. That by assiduous prayer, meditation, and doing the will of God in 
all things, we must kindle his perfect love in our souls. (Opusc. 17 Sc 18.) 
His works are printed in nineteen volumes folio. 

March T.] st. thomas of aquino, d. c. 49 

had held a long conference with them at a casual meeting in 
Cardinal Richard's villa, and they agreed to resume it the next 
day. The saint spent the foregoing night in prayer at the foot 
of the altar. The next morning these two most obstinate Jews 
came to him of their own accord, not to dispute, but to embrace 
the faith, and were followed by many others. In the year 1263 
the Dominicans held their fortieth general chapter in London ; 
St. Thomas assisted at it, and obtained soon after to be dismissed 
from teaching. He rejoiced to see himself reduced to the state 
of a private religious man. Pope Clement IV. had such a regard 
for him, that, in 1265, among other ecclesiastical preferments, he 
made him an offer of the archbishopric of Naples, but could not 
prevail with him to accept of that or any other. The first part of 
his theological Summ St. Thomas composed at Bologna : he was 
called thence to Naples. Here it was that, according to Tocco 
and others, Dominick Caserte beheld him, while in fervent 
prayer, raised from the ground, and heard a voice from the 
crucifix directed to him in these words : " Thou hast written 
well of me, Thomas : what recompense dost thou desire ?" He 
answered : "No other than thyself, Lord."(l) 

From the 6th of December, in 1273, to the 7th of March 
following, the day of his death, he neither dictated nor wrote 
anything on theological matters. He, from that time, laid aside 
his studies to fix his thoughts and heart entirely on eternity, and 
to aspire with the greatest ardour and most languishing desires 
to the enjoyment of God in perfect love. Pope Gregory X. had 
called a general council, the second of Lyons, with the view of 
extinguishing the Greek schism, and raising succours to defend 
the holy land against the Saracens. The ambassadors of the 
emperor Michael Palselogus, together with the Greek prelates, 
were to assist at it. The council was to meet on the 1st of May 
iu 1274. His holiness, by brief directed to our saint, ordered 
him to repair thither, and to prepare himself to defend the 
Catholic cause against the Greek schismatics. Though indisposed, 
he set out from Naples about the end of January. His dear 
friend, F. Reynold of Pipemo, was appointed his companion, 
and ordered to take care that he did not neglect himself, which 
the saint was apt to do. St. Thomas on the road called at the 

• Bene scripsisti de me, Thoma : qnam mercedem accipiea ? Nod aliam, 
oisi te, Domine. 


castle of Magenza, the seat of his niece Francisca of Aquino, 
married to the count of Cecan. Here his distemper increased, 
which was attended with a loss of appetite. One day he said, 
to be rid of their importunities, that he thought he could eat a 
little of a certain fish which he had formerly eaten in France, 
but which was not easily to be found in Italy. Search however 
was made, and the fish procured ; but the saint refused to touch 
It, in imitation of David on the like occasion. Soon after his 
appetite returned a little, and his strength with it ; yet he was 
assured that his last hour was at hand. This however did 
not hinder hirii from proceeding on his journey, till his fever 
increasing, he was forced to stop at Fossa-Nuova, a famous 
abbey of the Cistercians, in the diocess of Terracina, where 
formerly stood the city called Forum Appii. Entering the 
monastery, he went first to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, 
according to his custom. He poured forth his soul with extraor- 
dinary fervour, in the presence of Him who now called him to 
his kingdom. Passing thence into the cloister, which he never 
lived to go out of, he repeated these words :(1) This is my 
rest for ages without end. He was lodged in the abbot's apart- 
ment, where he lay ill for near a month. The good monks treated 
him with micommon veneration and esteem, and as if he had 
been an angel from heaven. They would not employ any of their 
servants about him, but chose to serve him themselves in the 
meanest offices, as in cutting or carrying wood for him to burn, 
(fee. His patience, humility, constant recollection, and prayer 
were equally their astonishment and edification. 

The nearer he saw himself to the term of all his desires, the 
entering into the joy of his Lord, the more tender and inflamed ^ 
A^ere his longings after death. He had continually in his mouth 
these words of St. Austin. (2) " Then shall I truly live, when 
I shall be quite filled with you alone, and your love ; now I am a 
burden to myself, because I am not entirely full of you." In 
such pious transports of heavenly love he never ceased sighing 
after the glorious day of eternity. The monks begged he would 
dictate an exposition of the book of Canticles, in imitation of St. 
Bernard. He answered : " Give me St. Bernard's spirit, and 
I will obey." But at last, to renounce perfectly his own will 
he dictated the exposition of that most mysterious of all the divine 
books. It begins: Solomon inspiratus: It is not what his 
(1^ Psalm cxxxi. 14. (2) Conf I. 10. c. 2d. 

March 7.] sr. thomas oi aqulvo, d. c. 61 • 

erudition might have suggested, but what love inspired him 
with in his last moments, when his pure soul was hastening to 
break the chains of mortality, and drown itself in the ocean o^ 
God's immensity, and in the delights of eternity.* The holy 
doctor at last finding himself too weak to dictate any more^^ 
begged the religious to withdraw, recommended himself la 
their prayers, and desiring their leave to employ the few 
precious moments he had to live with God alone. He accord- 
ingly spent them in fervent acts of adoration, praise, thanks- 
giving, humility and repentance. He made a general confession 
of his whole life to F. Reynold, with abundance of tears for 
his imperfections and sins of frailty; for in the judgment of 
those to whom he had manifested his interior, he had never 
offended God by any mortal sin. And he said to F. Reynold, 
before his death, that he thanked God with his whole heart for 
having prevented him with his grace, and always conducted 
him as it were by the hand, and preserved him from any known 
sin that destroys charity in the soul ; adding, that this was 
purely God's mercy to which he was indebted for his preser- 
vation from every sin which he had not committed.f Having 
received absolution with the sentiments of the most perfect peni- 
tent, he desired the Viaticum. Whilst the abbot and community 
were preparing to bring it, he begged to be taken off his bed, and 
laid upon ashes spread upon the floor. Thus lying on the 
ground, weak in body but vigorous in mind, he waited for 
the priest with tears of the most tender devotion. When he 
saw the host in the priest's hand, he said : *' I firmly believe, 
that Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is present in this 
august sacrament. I adore you my God, and my Redeemer : I 
receive You, the price of my redemption, the Viaticum of my 
pilgrimage ; for whose honour I have studied, laboured, preached, 
and taught. I hope I never advanced any tenet as your word, 
which I had not learned fi:om you. If through ignorance I have 
done otherwise, I revoke everything of that kind, and submit 
all my writings to the judgment of the holy Roman church." 
Then recollecting himself, after other acts of faith, adoration, 

• There is another commentary on the same book which sometimes bears 
Ills name, and begins : Sonet vox tua in auribus meis ; which was not the 
work of this saint, but of Haymo, bishop of Halberstadt. See Echard, t. 1. 
p. 323. Touron, p. 714. Le Long, Bibl. Sacra, p. 766. 

i I'ibi debeo et quod non feci. Saint Aug. 


and love, he received the holy Viaticum ; but remained on the 
ashes till he had finished his thanksgiving. Growing still 
weaker, amidst his transposts of love, he desired extreme 
unction, which he received, answering himself to all the prayers. 
After this, he lay in peace and joy as appeared by the serenity 
of his countenance ; and he was heard to pronounce these 
aspirations : " Soon, soon will the God of all comfort complete 
his mercies on me, and fill all my desires. I shall shortly be 
satiated in him, and drink of the torrent of his delights : be 
inebriated from the abundance of his house, and in him who 
is the source of life, I shall behold the true light." Seeing all 
in tears about him he comforted them, saying : Death was his 
gain and his joy. F. Reynold said, he had hoped to see him 
triumph over the adversaries of the church in the council of 
Lyons, and placed in a rank in which he might do it some signal 
service. The saint answered : '* I have begged of God, as the 
greatest favour, to die a simple religious man, and I now thank 
him for it. It is a greater benefit than he has granted to many 
of his holy servants, that he is pleased to call me out of this 
world so early to enter into his joy; wherefore grieve not for 
me who am overwhelmed with joy. He returned thanks to 
the abbot and monks of Fossa-Nuova for their charity to him. 
One of the community asked him by what means we might 
live always faithful to God's grace. He answered: "Be assured 
that he who shall always walk faithfully in his presence, always 
ready to give him an account of all his actions, shall never be 
separated from him by consenting to sin." These were his last 
words to men, after which he only spoke to God in prayer, and 
gave up the ghost, on the 7th of March, in 1274, a little after 
midnight; some say in the fiftieth year of his age. But Ptolemy 
of Lucca, and other contemporary authors say expressly in his 
forty-eight, which also agrees with his whole history. He was 
very tall, and every way proportioned. 

The concourse of people at the saint's funeral was extraordi- 
nary : several monks of that house, and many other persons, 
were cured by his relics and intercession, of which many instances, 
Miridically proved, are mentioned by William of Tocco, in the 
bull of his canonization, and other authors. The Bollandists 
give us other long authentic relations of the like miracles con- 
tinued afterwards, especially in the translations of those holy 
relies. The university of Paris sent to the general and provincial 


of the Dominicand a letter of condolence upon his death, giving 
the highest commendations to the saint's learning and sanctity 
and hegging the treasure of his holy body. Naples, Rome, and 
many other universities, princes, and Orders, contended no less 
for it. One of his hands, uneorrupt, was cut off in 1288, and 
given to his sister, the countess Theodora, who kept it in her 
domestic chapel of San Severino. After her death it was given 
to the Dominicans' convent of Salerno. After several contesta- 
tions, Pope Urban V. many years after his death, granted his 
body to the Dominicans to carry to Paris or Thoulouse, as Italy 
already possessed the body of St. Dominick at Bologna. The 
sacred treasure was carried privately into France, and received 
at Thoulose in the most honourable manner : one hundred and fifty 
thousand people came to meet and conduct it into the city, having 
at their head, Lewis, duke of Anjou, brother to king Charles V. the 
archbishop of Thoulouse and Narbonne, and many bishops, 
abbots, and noblemen. It rests now in the Dominicans' church 
at Thoulouse, in a rich shrine, with a stately MausolsBum over it, 
which reaches almost up to the roof of the church, and hath four 
faces. An arm of the saint was, at the same time, sent to the great 
convent of the Dominicans at Paris, and placed in St Thomas's 
chapel in their church, which the king declared a royal chapel. 
The faculty of theology meet to assist at a high mass there on the 
anniversary festival of the saint. 

The kingdom of Naples, after many pressing solicitations, 
obtained in 1372, from the general chapter held at Thoulouse, a 
bone of the other arm of St. Thomas. It was kept in the 
church of the Dominicans at Naples till 1603, when the city 
being delivered from a public calamity by his intercession, it 
was placed in the metropolitan church among the relics of the 
other patrons of the country. That kingdom by the briefs of 
Pius V. in 1567, and of Clement VIII. in 1603, confirmed by 
Paul v. honours him as a principal patron. He was solemnly 
canonized by Pope John XXII. in 1323. Pope Pius V., in 1667, 
commanded his festival and office to be kept equal with those of 
the four doctors of the western church. 

Many in their studies, as in other occupations, take great 
pains to little purpose, often to draw from them the poison of 
vanity or error ; or at least to drain their afiections, and rather 
to nourish pride and other vices in the heart than to promote 
true virtue. Sincere humility and simplicity of heart are 
VOL. in E 


essential conditions for the sanctification of studies^ and for tho 
improvement of virtue by them. Prayer must also both go 
before and accompany them. St. Thomas spoke much to God 
by prayer, that God might speak to him by enlightening his 
understanding in his reading and studies ; and he received in 
this what he asked in the other exercise. This prodigy of 
human wit, this unparalleled genius, which penetrated the most 
knotty difficulties in all the sciences, whether sacred or profane, 
to which he applied himself, was accustomed to say, that he 
learned more at the foot of the crucifix than in books. We ought 
never to set ourselves to read or study anything without having 
first made our morning meditation, and without imploring in 
particular the divine light in everything we read ; and seasoning 
our studies by frequent aspirations to God in them, and by 
keeping our souls in an humble attention to his presence. In 
intricate difficulties we ought more earnestly, prostrate at the 
foot of a crucifix, to ask of Christ the resolution of our doubts. 
We should thus receive, in the scheol of so good a master, that 
science which makes saints, by giving, with other sciences, the 
true knowledge of God and ourselves, and purifying and kinc.infc 
in the will the fire of divine love with the sentiments of humility 
and other virtues. By a little use, fervent aspirations to God 
will arise from all subjects in the dryest studies, and it wi/ 
become easy, and as it were natural in them, to raise our heart 
earnestly to God, either despising the vain pursuits, or detesting 
the vanity, and deploring the blindness of the world, or aspiring 
after heavenly gifts, or begging light, grace, or the divine love. 
This is a maxim of the utmost importance in an interior or 
spiritual life, which otherwise, instead of being assisted, is 
entirely overwhelmed and extinguished by studies, whether 
profane or sacred, and in its place a spirit of self-sufficiency, 
vanity, and jealousy is contracted, and the seeds of all other 
spiritual vices secretly sown. Against this danger, St. Bonaven- 
ture warns all students strongly to be upon their guard, saying, 
"If a person repeats often in his heart, Lord^ when shall I lave 
thee ? he will feel an heavenly fire kindled in his soul much 
more than by a thousand bright thoughts or fine speculations on 
divine secrets, on the eternal generation of the Word, or (be 
procession of the Holy Ghost."(l) Prayer and true virtue even 
naturally conduce to the perfection of learning in every branch \ 
(1) St. Bonav. 1. de Mystic^ Theol. a ult 

March 7.] st. pebpetua, <Src. mm. 65 

for parity of the heart, and the disengagement of the affections 
from all irregular passions, render the miderstanding clear, 
qualify the mind to judge impartially of truth in its researches, 
divest it of many prejudices, the fatal sources of errors, and 
inspire a modest distrust in a person's own abilities and lights. 
Thus yirtne and learning mutually assist and improve each 



From dieir most valuable genaine acts, quoted br Tertuilian, 1. de auiml, 
o. 66. and by St. Austin, serm. 280. 283. 294.' The first part of these 
acts, which reaches to the eve of her martyrdom, was written by Saint 
Perpetna. The vision of St. Saturtis was added bv him. The rest was 
Bubioined by an eye-witness of their death. See Tillemont, t. 8. p. 139. 
Ceulier, t. 2. p. 213. These acts have been often republished : but are 
extant, most ample and correct, in Rninart. They were publicly read in 
the churches of Africa, as appears from St. Austixi. Serm. 180. See them 
vindicated from the suspicion of Montanism, by Ursi, Yindicte Act SS. 
PerDetus et Felicitatis. 

A.D. 203. 

A VIOLENT persecution heing set on foot hy the emperor Seyerus^ 
in 202, it reached Africa the following year ; when, hy order of 
Minutius Timinianus, (or Firminianus) fiye catechumens were 
apprehended at Carthage for the faith : namely Revocatus and 
his fellow-slave FelicitaSi Satuminus, Secundulus, and Yiha 
Perpetua. Felidtas was seven months gone with child; and 
Perpetua had an infant at her hreast, was of a good family, 
twenty-two years of age, and married to a person of quality in 
the city. She had a father, a mother, and two brothers ; the 
third, Dinocrates, died about seven years old. These five 
martyrs were joined by Saturus, probably brother to Satuminus, 
and who seems to have been their instructor : he underwent a 
voluntary imprisonment, because he would not abandon them. 
The father of St. Perpetua, who was a pagan, and advanced in 
years, loved her more than aU his other children. Her mother 
was probably a Christian, as was one of her brothers, the other a 
catechumen. The martyrs were for some days before their 
commitment kept under a strong guard in a private house : and 
the account Perpetua gives of their sufferings to the eve of their 
death, is as follows : " We were in the hands of our persecutors, 
when my father, out of the affection he bore me, made new 


efforts to shake my resolution. I said to him : ' Can that vessel, 
which you see, change its name ?' He said : * No.' I replied : 
* Nor can I call myself any other than I am, that is to say a 
Christian.' At that word my father in a rage fell upon me, as 
if he would have pulled my eyes out, and beat me : but went 
away in eonfusion, seeing me invincible : after this we enjoyed 
a little repose, and in that interval received baptism. The 
Holy Ghost, on our coming out of the water, inspired me to 
pray for nothing but patience under corporal pains. A few days 
after this we were put into prison : I was shocked at the horror 
and darkness of the place •♦ for till then I knew not what such 
sort of places were. 

Wc suffered much that day, chiefly on account of the great 
heat caused by the crowd, and the ill-treatment we met with 
from the soldiers. I was moreover tortured with concern, for 
that I had not my infant. But the deacons, Tertius and Pompo- 
nius, who assisted us, obtained, by money, that we might pass 
some hours in a more commodious part of the prison to refresh 
ourselves. My infant being brought to me almost famished, I 
gave it the breast. I recommended him afterwards carefully to 
my mother, and encouraged my brother ; but was much afflicted 
to see their concern for me. After a few days my sorrow was 
changed into comfort, and my prison itself seemed agreeable. 
One day my brother said to me : * Sister, I am persuaded that 
you are a peculiar favourite of heaven : pray to God to reveal 
to you whether this imprisonment will end in martyrdom or not, 
and acquaint me of it.' I, knowing God gave me daily tokens 
of his goodness, answered full of confidence, I will inform you 
to-morrow. I therefore asked that favour of God, and had 
this vision. I saw a golden ladder which reached from earth 
to the heavens ; but so narrow that only one could mount it at 
a time. To the two sides were fastened all sorts of iron instru- 
ments, as swords, lances, hooks, and knives ; so that if any one 
went up carelessly he was in great danger of having his flesh torn 
by those weapons. At the foot of the ladder lay a dragon of an 
enormous size, who kept guard to turn back and terrify those 
who endeavoured to mount it. The first that went up was 
Saturus, who was not apprehended with us, but voluntarily 

• The prisons of the ancient Romanfl, still to be seen in many old amphi- 
theatres, &c. are dismal holes ; having at most pne very small aperture for 
tight, just enough to show day. 

March 7.] st. pebpetua, &c. mm. ; 57 

surrendered himself afterwards on our account : when he was got 
to the top of the ladder, he turned towards me and said : * Per- 
petua, I wait for you ; but take care lest the dragon bite you.' 
I answered : ' In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not 
hurt me.' Then the dragon, as if afraid of me, gently lifted his 
head from under the ladder, and I, having got upon the first step, 
set my foot upon his head. Thus I mounted to the top, and there 
I saw a garden of an immense space, and in the middle of it a 
tail man sitting down dressed like a shepherd, having white 
hair. He was milking his sheep, surrounded with many thou- 
sands of persons clad in white. He called me by my name, bid 
me welcome, and gave me some curds made of the milk which he 
had drawn : I put my hands together and took and eat them ; 
and all that were present said aloud Amen. The noise awaked 
me, chewing something very sweet. As soon as I had related to 
my brother this vision, we both concluded that we should suffer 

** After some days, a rumour, being spread that we were to 
be examined, my father came from the city to the prison over- 
whelmed with grief: * Daughter,* said he, *have pity on my 
gray hairs, have compassion on your father, if I yet deserve to be 
called your father ; if I myself have brought -you up to this age : 
if you consider that my extreme love of you, made me always prefer 
you to all your brothers, make me not a reproach to mankind. 
Have respect for your mother and your aunt ; have compassion on 
your child that cannot survive you ; lay aside this resolution, 
this obstinacy, lest you ruin us all ; for not one of us will dare 
open his lips any more if any misfortune befall you.' He took 
me by the hands at the same time and kissed them ; he threw 
himself at my feet in tears, and called me no longer daughter, 
but, my lady. I confess, I was pierced with sharp sorrow when 
I considered that my father was the only person of our family 
that would not rejoice at my martyrdom. I endeavoured to 
comfort him, saying : ' Father, grieve not ; nothing will happen 
but what pleases God ; for we are not at our own disposal.' He 
then departed very much concerned. The next day, whilst we 
were at dinner, a person came all on a sudden to summon us to 
examination. The report of this was soon spread, and brought 
together a vast crowd of people into the audience chamber. We 
were placed on a sort of scaffold before the judge, who was 
Hilarian, procurator of the province, the proconsul being lately 

68 ST. PEBPETUAy &C. MM. [MaBCH 7' 

dead. All who were interrogated before me confessed boldly 
Jesus Christ. When it came to my turn, my father instantly 
appeared with my infant. He drew me a little aside, conjuring 
mli in the most tender manner not to be insensible to the misery 
I should bring on that innocent creature to which I had given 
life. The president Hilarian joined with my father and said : 
* What ! will neither the gray hairs of a father you are going to 
make miserable, nor the tender innocence of a child, which your 
death will leave an orphan, move you P Sacrifice for the pros- 
perity of the emperors.' I replied, *I will not do it.' *Are you 
then a Christian?' said Hilarian. I answered: 'Tes, I am.' 
As my father attempted to draw me from the scaffold, Hilarian 
commanded him to be beaten off, and he had a blow given him 
with a stick, which I felt as much as if I had been struck myself, 
so much was I grieved to see my father thus treated in his old 
age. Then the judge pronounced our sentence, by which we 
were all condemned to be exposed to wild beasts. We then 
joyfully returned to our prison ; and as my infant had been used 
to the breast, I immediately sent Pomponius, the deacon» to 
demand him of my father, who refused to send him. And God 
so ordered it that the child no longer required to suck, nor did 
my milk incommode me." Secundulus, being no more men- 
tioned, seems to have died in prison before this interrogatory. 
Before Hilarian pronounced sentence he had caused Saturas, 
Saturninus, and Bevocatus to be scourged ; and Perpetua and 
Felidtas to be beaten on the face. They were reserved for the 
shows which were to be exhibited for the soldiers in the camp, 
on the festival of 6eta, who had been made Csesar four years 
before by his father Severus, when his brother Caracalla was 
created Augustus. 

St. Perpetua relates another vision with which she was 
favoured, as follows; ''A few days after receiving sentence, 
when we were altogether in prayer, I happened to name Dino- 
crates, at which I was astonished, because I had not before had 
him in my thoughts ; and I that moment knew th&t I ought to 
pray for him. This I began to do with great fervour and sighing 
before God ; and the same night I had the following vision : I 
saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark place, where there were 
many others, exceedingly hot and thirsty; his face was dirty, his 
complexion pale, with the ulcer in his face of which he died at 
iieven years of age, and it w as for him that I had prayed. There 

MaECH 7.] ST. PEEPETUA, &C, MM. 69 

seemed a great distance between him and me, so that it was 
impossible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a vessel 
full of water, whose brim was higher than the statue of an infant : 
he attempted to drink, but though he had water he could not 
reach it. This mightily grieved me, and I awoke. By this I 
knew my brother was in pain, but I trusted I could by prayer 
relieve him : so I began to pray for him, beseeching God with ' 
tears, day and night, that he would grant me my request ; as I 
continued to do till we were removed to the camp prison : being 
destined for a public show on the festival of Caesar Geta. The 
day we were in the stocks* I had this vision : I saw the place 
which I had beheld dark before, now luminous ; and Dinocrates, 
with his body very clean and well clad, refreshing himself, and 
instead of his wound a scar only. I awaked, and I knew he 
was relieved from his pain.f 

*'Some days after, Pudens the ofiBcer, who commanded the 
guards of the prison, seeing that God favoured us with many 
gifts, had a great esteem of us, and admitted many people to 
visit us for our mutual comfort. On the day of the public shows 

• These stocks, called Nervns, were a wooden machine with many holes, 
in which the prisoners' feet were £utened and stretched to great distances, 
as to the fourth or fifth holes, for the increase of their torment. St Perpetua 
remarks, they were chained, and also set in this engine during their stay in 
the camp-prison, which seems to have been several days, in expectation of 
the day of^the public shows. 

+ By the conclusions which St. Perpetua was led to make from her two 
visions, it evidently appears that the church, in that early age, believed the 
doctrine of the expiation of certain sins after death^ and prayed for the 
faithAil departed. This must be allowed, even though it should be pretended 
that her visions were not from God. But neither St. Austin, nor any other 
ancient father, ever entertained the least suspicion on that head. Nor can 
we presume that the goodness of God would permit one lull of such ardent 
love of him to be imposed upon in a point of this nature. The Oxonian 
editor of these acts kiiew not what other answer to make to this ancient 
testimony, than that St. Perpetua seems to have been a Montanist. (p. 14.) 
But this unjust censure Dodwell (Diss. Cypr. A. n. 8. p. 16.) and others have 
confuted. And could St. Austin, with the whole Catholic church, have 
ranked a Montanist among the most illustrious martyrs ? That father him- 
self, in many places of his works, clearly explains the same doctrine of the 
Catholic faith, concerning a state of temporary sufferings in the other world, 
and conformably to it speaks of these visions. (L. de Ong. Animae, 1. 1. c. 10. 
p. 343. & 1. 4. c. 18. p. 401. t. 10. &c.) He savs, that Dinocrates must have 
received baptism, but afterwards sinned, perhaps by having been seduced 
by his pagan father irto some act of superstition, or by lying, or by some 
other Csiulta of which children in that tender age may be j^uilty. Illius cetatis 
pueri et mentiri et verum loqui, et confiteri et negare jam possunt. Lib. 1. 
r. 10. See Orsi, Diss, de Actis SS. Perpetuse et FeUcitatis. Florentiae, 
1738, 4to. 

60 ST. PEEPETlfA, &C. MM. [MaRCH 7. 

my father came to find me out, overwhelmed with sorrow. He 
tore his beard, be threw himself prostrate on the ground, cursed 
his years, and said enough to move any creature ; and I was 
ready to die with sorrow to see my father in so deplorable a 
condition. On the eve of the shows I was favoured with the 
following vision. The deacon Pomponius, methought, knocked 
very hard at the prison-door, which I opened to him. He was 
clothed with a white robe, embroidered with innumerable 
promegranates of gold. He said to me : * Perpetua, we wait for 
you, come along.' He then took me by the hand and led me 
through very rough places into the middle of the amphitheatre, 
and said ; * Fear not.' And, leaving me, said again : * I will 
be with you in a moment, and bear a part with you in your 
pains.' I was wondering the beasts were not let out against 
us, when there appeared a very ill-favoured Egyptian, who 
came to encounter me with others. But another beautiful troop 
of young men declared for me, and anointed me with oil for 
the combat. Then appeared a man of a prodigious stature, in 
rich apparel, having a wand in his hand like the masters oi 
the gladiators, and a green bough on which hung golden apples. 
Having ordered silence, he said that the bough should be my 
prize, if I vanquished the Egyptian : but that if he con- 
quered me, he should kill me with a sword. After a long and 
obstinate engagement, I threw him on his face, and trod upon 
his head. The people applauded my victory with loud accla- 
mationjl. I then approached the master of the amphitheatre, 
who gave me the bough with a kiss, and said : * Peace be 
with you, my daughter.' After this I awoke, and found that 
I was not so much to combat with wild beasts as with the 
devils." Here ends the relation of St. Perpetua. 

St. Saturus had also a vision which he wrote himself. He and 
his companions were conducted by a bright angel into a most 
delightful garden, in which they met ,8ome holy martyrs, lately 
dead, named Jocundus, Saturninus, and Artaxius, who had been 
burned alive for the faith, and Quintus, who died in prison. They 
inquired after other martyrs of their acquaintance, say the acts, 
and were conducted into a most stately palace, shining like the 
sun : and in it saw the king of this most glorious place surrounded 
by his happy subjects, and heard a voice composed of many, 
which continually cried, " Holy, holy, holy ! " Saturus, turning 
to Perpetua, said, "You have here what you desired." She 

March 7.] st. peepetoa, &c. mm. 61 

replied, " God be praised, I have more joy here than ever I had in 
the flesli." He adds, " Going out of the garden they found before 
the gate, on the right hand, their bishop of Carthage, Optatus, 
and on the left, Aspasius, priest of the same church, both of them 
alone and sorrowful. They fell at the martyrs' feet, and begged 
they would reconcile them together, for a dissension had happened 
between them. The martyrs embraced them, saying : " Are not 
you our bishop, and you a priest of our Lord ? It is our duty to 
prostrate ourielves before you." Perpetua was discoursing with 
them ; but certain angels came and drove hence Optatus and 
Aspasius ; and bade them not to disturb the martyrs, but be re- 
conciled to each other. The bishop Optatus was also charged to 
heal the divisions that reigned among several of his church. The 
angels, after these reprimands, seemed ready to shut the gates oi 
the garden. " Here," says he, " we saw many of our brethren 
and martyrs likewise. We were fed with an ineffable odour, which 
delighted and satisfied us." Such was the vision of Saturus. 
The rest of the acts were added by an eye-witness. God had 
called to himself Secondulus in prison. Felicitas was eight 
months gone with child, and as the day of the shows approached 
she was inconsolable lest she should not be brought to bed before 
it came ; fearing that her martyrdom would be deferred on that 
account, because women with child were not allowed to be executed 
before they were delivered : the rest also were sensibly afflicted 
on their part to leave her alone in the road to their common hope. 
Wherefore they unanimously joined in prayer to obtain of God 
that she might be delivered against the shows. Scarcely had they 
finished their prayer, when Felicitas found herself in labour. She 
cried out under the violence of her pain : one of the guards asked 
her, if she could not bear the throes of child-birth without crying 
out, what she would do when exposed to the wild beasts ? She 
answered : " It is I who suffer what I now suffer; but then there 
will be another in me that will suffer for me, because I shall suffer 
for him." She was then delivered of a daughter, which a cer- 
tain Christian woman took care of, and brought up as her own 
child. The tribune, who had the holy martyrs in custody, being 
informed by some persons of little credit, that the Christians 
would free themselves out of prison by some magic enchantments, 
used them the more cruelly on that account, and forbade any to 
see them. T hereupon Perpetua said to him : '* Why do you not 
afford us some relief, since we are condemned by Caesar, and 
destined to combat at his festival ? Will it not be to your honor 

fi2 ST. FSBP£TUA,.&C. MM. [MA^CH 7. 

that we appear well fed ? " At this the tribune trembled and 
bluHhed, and o/dered them to be used with more humanity, and 
their Mends to be admitted to see them. Pudens, the keeper of 
the prison, being already converted, secretly did them all the 
food offices in his power. 

The day before they suffered they gave them, according to 
custom, their last meal, which was called a free sapper, and they 
eat in public. But the martyrs did their utmost to change it into 
an Agape, or Love-feast. Their chamber was full of people, 
whom they talked to with their usual resolution, threatened them 
with the judgments of God, and extolling the happiness of their 
own sufferings. Sajurus, smiling at the curiosity of those who 
came to see them, said to them : '* Will not to-morrow suffice to 
satisfy your inhuman curiosity in our regard ? However yon 
may seem now to pity us, to-morrow you will clap your hands 
at our death, and applaud our murderers. But observe well our 
faces, that you may know them again at that terrible day when 
all men shall be judged." They spoke with such courage and 
intrepidity, as astonished the infidels, and occasioned the conver- 
sion of several among them. 

The day of their triumph being come, they went out of the 
prison to go to the amphitheatre. Joy sparkled in their eyes, 
and appeared in all their gestures and words. Perpetua walked 
with a composed countenance and easy pace, as a woman cher- 
ished by Jesus Christ, with her eyes modestly cast down : 
Felicitas went with her, following the men, not able to contain 
her joy. When they came to the gate of the amphitheatre the 
guards would have given them, according to custom the supersti- 
tious habits with which they adorned such as appeared at these 
sights. — For the men, a red mantle, which was the habit of the 
priest of Saturn : for the women, a little fillet round the head, by 
which the priestesses of Ceres were known. The martyrs 
rejected those idolatrous ceremonies ; and by the mouth of Per- 
petua, said, they came thither of their own accord on the promise 
made them that they should not be forced to anything contrary to 
their religion. The tribune then consented that they might 
appear in the amphitheatre habited as they were. Perpetua 
sung, as being already victorious ; Revocatus, Saturniuus, and 
Saturus threatened the people that beheld them with the judg- 
ments of Gcd: and as they passed over against the balcony of 
Hilarian, thiiy said to him : " You judge us in this world, but 
God will ;'ud5e you in the next." 

March 7.] st. perpetua, &e. mm. 63 

The people enraged at their boldness^ hegged they might be 
Bconrged^ which was granted. They accordingly passed before 
the Venatoresy* or hunters^ each of whom gave them a lash. 
They rejoiced exceedingly in being thought worthy to resemble 
onr Sayioar in his sufferings. God granted to each of them the 
death they desired ; for when they were discoursing together 
about what kind of martyrdom would be agreeable to each, 
Satuminus declared that he would choose to be exposed to 
beasts of several sorts in order to the aggravation of his suffer- 
ings. Accordingly he and Revocatus, after having been attacked 
by a leopard, were also assaulted by a bear. Saturus dreaded 
nothing so much as a bear, and therefore hoped a leopard would 
despatch him at once with his teeth. He was then exposed 
to a wild boar, but the beast turned upon his keeper, who 
received such a wound from him that he died in a few days 
after, and Saturus was only dragged along by him. Then 
they tied the martyr to the bridge near a bear, but that 
beast came not out of his lodge, so that Saturus, being sound 
and not hurt, was called upon for a second encounter. This 
gave him an opportunity of speaking to Pudens, the jailor who 
had been converted. The martyr encouraged him to constancy 
in the faith, and said to him : ** You see I have not yet been 
hurt by any beast, as I desired and foretold ; believe then sted- 
fastly in Christ ; I am going where you wiU see a leopard with 
one bite take away my life." It happened so, for a leopard 
being let out upon him covered him all over with blood, where- 
upon the people jeering, cried out, " He is well baptized." The 
martyr said to Pudens, ** Go, remember my faith, and let our 
Bufferings rather strengthen than trouble you. Give me the 
ring you have on your finger." Saturus, having dipt it in his 
wound, gave it him back to keep as a pledge to animate him to 
a constancy in his faith, and fell down dead soon after. Thus 
he went first to glory to wait for Perpetua, according to her 
vision. Some with Mabillon,(l) think this Pudens is the 
martyr honoured in Africa, on the 29th of April. 

(1) Analect. t. 3. p. 403. 

* Pro ordine venatorum. Yeoatores, is the name given to those that were 
armed to encounter the beasts, who put themselves in ranks^ with whips in 
their hands, and each of them gave a lash to the Bestiani, or those cod- 
domned to the beasts, whom they obliged to pass naked before ttiem in thci 
Middle of the pit or arena. 

64 ST. PERPETHA, &C. MM. [MaRCH 7. 

lo the mean time, Perpetua and Felicitas had been exposed 
to a wild cow ; Perpetua was first attacked, and the cow having 
tossed her np, she fell on her back. Then putting herself in a 
sitting posture, and perceiving her clothes were torn, she gathered 
them about her in the best manner she could to cover herself, 
thinking more of decency than her sufferings. Getting up, not 
to seem disconsolate, she tied up her hair, which was fallen loose, 
and perceiving Felicitas on the ground much hurt by a toss 
of the cow, she helped her to rise. They stood together, expecting 
another assault from the beasts, but the people crying out that 
it was enough, they were led to the gate Sanevivaria, where those 
that were not killed by the beasts were despatched at the end 
of the shows by the confectores. Perpetua was here received 
by Rusticus, a catechumen, who attended her. This admirable 
woman seemed just returning to herself out of a long ecstasy, 
and asked when she was to fight the wild cow. Being told 
what had passed, she could not believe it till she saw on her 
body and clothes the marks of what she had suffered, and knew 
the catechumen. With regard to this circumstance of her acts, 
St. Austin cries out, " Where was she when assaulted and torn 
by so furious a wUd beast, without feeling her wounds, and when 
after that furious combat, she asked when it would begin P What 
did she, not to see what all the world saw P What did she enjoy 
who did not feel such pain P By what love, by what vision, by 
what potion was she so transported out of herself, and as it were 
divinely inebriated, to seem without feeling in a mortal body P" 
She called for her brother, and said to him and Rusticus : 
" Continue firm in the faith, love one another, and be not scan- 
dalized at our sufferings." All the martyrs were now brought 
to the place of their butchery. But the people not yet satisfied 
with beholding blood, cried out to have them brought into the 
middle of the amphitheatre, that they might have the pleasure 
of seeing them receive the last blow. Upon this, some of the 
martyrs rose up, and having given one another the kiss of peace, 
went of their own accord into the middle of the arena ; others 
were despatched without speaking, or stirring out of the place 
they were in. St. Perpetua fell into the hands of a very timorous 
and unskilful apprentice of the gladiators, who, with a trembling 
hand, gave her many slight wounds, which made her languish a 
long time. Thus, says St.Austin, did two women, amidst fierce 
beasts and the swords of gladiators^ vanquish the devil and all 

March T.] st. paul, a. 66 

bis ftiry. They day of their martyrdom was the Yth of March, 
as it is marked in the most ancient martyrologies, and in the 
Roman calendar as old as the year 354, published by Bucherius. 
St. Prosper says they suffered at Carthage, which agrees with 
all the circumstances. Their bodies were in the great church of 
Carthage, in the fifth age, as St. Victor(l) informs us. St. Austin 
says, their festival drew yearly more to honour their memory in 
their church, than curiosity had done to their martyrdom. They 
are mentioned in the canon of the mass. 


From his ignorance of secular learning, and his extraordinary 
humility, he was sumamed the Simple. He served God in the 
world to the age of sixty, in the toils of a poor and laborious 
country life. The incontinency of his wife contributed to wean 
his soul from all earthly ties. Checks and crosses which men 
meet with in this life are great graces. God's sweet providence 
sows our roads with thorns, that we may learn to despise the 
vanity, and hate the treachery of the world. " When mothers 
would wean their children," says St. Austin, " they anoint their 
breasts with aloes, that the babe, being offended at the bitterness, 
may no more seek the nipple." Thus has God in his mercy filled 
the world with sorrow and vexation ; but woe to those who still 
continue to love it ! Even in this life miseries will be the wages 
of their sin and folly, and their eternal po/tion will be the second 
death. Paul found true happiness because he converted his 
heart perfectly from the world to God. Desiring to devote 
himself totally to his love, he determined to betake himself 
to the great St. Antony. He went eight days* journey into 
the desert, to the holy patriarch, and begged that he would 
admit him among his disciples, and teach him the way of salva- 
tion. Antony harshly rejected him, telling him, he was too old 
to bear the austerities of that state. He therefore bade him 
return home, and follow the business of his calling, and sanctify 
it by the spirit of recollection and assiduous prayer. Having 
said this he shut his door; but Paul continued fasting and 
praying before his door, till Antony seeing his fervour, on the 
fourth day opened it again, and going out to him, after several 
trials of his obedience, admitted him to the monastic state, and 
prescribed him a rule of life; teaching him, by the most perfect 
(1) Victor.). 1. p. 4. 

6« ST. PAUL, A. [March T. 

obedience, to crucify in bimself all attachment to bis own will, 
the source of pride ; by the denial of his senses and assiduous 
hard labour, to subdue his flesh ; and by continual prayer at his 
work^ and at other times^ to purify his heart, and inflame it with 
heavenly afiections.(l) He instructed him how to pray, and 
ordered him never to eat before sun-set, nor so much at a meal 
as entirely to satisfy hunger. Paul, by obedience and humility, 
laid the foundation of an eminent sanctity in his soul, which 
being dead to all self-will and to creatures, soared towards God 
with great fervour and purity of afiections. 

Among the examples of his ready obedience, it is recorded, that 
when he had wrought with great diligence in making mats and 
hurdles, praying at the same time without intermission, St. 
Antony disliked his work, and bade him undo it and make it 
over again. Paul did so, without any defection in his counte-- 
nance, or making the least reply, or even asking to eat a morsel 
of bread, though he had already passed seven days without 
taking any refreshment. After this, Anthony ordered him to 
moisten in water four loves of six ounces each ; for their bread in 
the deserts was exceeding hard and dry. When their refection 
was prepared, instead of eating, he bade Paul sing psalms with 
him, then to sit down by the loaves, and at night after praying 
together, to take his rest He called him up at midnight to pray 
with him : this exercise the old man continued with great cheer- 
fulness till three o'clock in the afternoon the following day. After 
sun-set, each eat one loaf, and Antony asked Paul if he would 
eat another. " Yes, if you do," said Paul ; ** I am a monk," 
said Antony ; *' And I desire to be one," replied the disciple ; 
whereupon they arose, sung twelve psalms, and recited twelve 
other prayers. After a short repose, they both arose again to 
prayer at midnight. The experienced director exercised his obe- 
dience by frequent trials, bidding him one day, when many 
monks were come to visit him to receive his spiritual advice, to 
spill a vessel of honey, and then to gather it up without any 
dust. At other times he ordered hijn to draw water a whole 
day, and pour it out again ; to make baskets and pull them to 
pieces ; to sow and unsew bis garments, and the like. (2) 

What victories over themselves and their passions might 

(1) Pallad. Lausiac. c. 28. p. 942. Kuiin. Tit. Pair. c. 31. Sozom. 1. 1. 
c. 13. 
C2} Eufin. & Pallad. loc. cit. 


youth and others, &c., gain! what a treasure of virtue 
might they procure, hy a ready and voluntary ohedience and 
conformity of their will to that of those whom Providence 
hath placed over them! This they would find the effectnal 
means to crush pride, and subdue their passions. But obedience 
is of little advantage unless it hend the will itself, and repress all 
wilful interior murmuring and repugnance. When Paul had been 
sufficiently exercised and instructed in the duties of a monastic 
life, St. Antony placed him in a cell three miles from his own, 
where he visited him from time to time. He usually preferred 
his virtue to that of all his other diciples, and proposed him to 
them as a model. He frequently sent Paul to sick persons, or 
those possessed hy the devil, whom he was not able to cure, as 
not having received the gift, and by the disciple's prayers they 
never failed of a cure. St. Paul died some time after the year 
330. He is commemorated hoth by the Greeks and Latins, oh 
the 7th of March. See Palladius, Rufinus and Sozomen, abridged 
by Tillemont, t. 7. p. 144. Also by Henschenius, p. 645. 



From hij« .life, written by Francis de Cautro, twenty-five years after big 
death ; abridged by BaiUet, p. 92. and F. Helyot, Hist, des Ordres 
Belig. t 4. p. 131. 

A.D. 1550. 

St. John, sumamed of God, was bom in Portugal, in 1495. 
His parents were of the lowest rank in the country, but devout 
and charitable. John spent a considerable part of his youth 
in service, under the mayoral or chief shepherd of the count of 
Oropeusa in Castile, and in great innocence and virtue. In 
1522 he listed himself in a company of foot raised by the 
count, and served in the wars between the French and,fSpaniards ; 
as he did afterwards in Hungary against the Turks whilst the 
emperor Charles V. was king of Spain. By the licentiousness of 
his companions he, by degrees, lost his fear of offending God, 
and laid aside the greater part of his practices of devotion. 
The troop which he belonged to being disbanded, he went into 
Andalusia in 1536, where he entered the service of a rich 


lady near Seville, in quality of shepherd. Being now about 
forty years of age, stung with remorse for his past misconduct, 
he began to entertain very serious thoughts of a change of 
life, and doing penance for his sins. He accordingly employed 
4e greater part of his time, both by day and night, in the 
exercises of prayer and mortification; bewailing almost conti- 
nually his ingratitude towards God, and deliberating how he 
could dedicate himself in the most perfect manner to his service. 
His compassion for the distressed moved him to take a reso- 
lution of leaving his place, and passing into Africa, that he 
might comfort and succour the poor slaves there, not without 
hopes of meeting with the crown of martyrdom. At Gibralter 
he met with a Portuguese gentleman condemned to banishment, 
and whose estate had also been confiscated by King John III. 
He was then in the hands of the king's ofl&cers, together 
with his wife and children, and on his way to Ceuta in Bar- 
bary, the place of his exile. John, out of charity and com- 
passion, served him without any wages. At Ceuta, the 
gentleman falling sick with grief and the change of air, was 
soon reduced to such straits as to be obliged to dispose of the 
small remains of his shattered fortune for the family's support. 
John, not content to sell what little stock he was master of to 
relieve them, went to day-labour at the public works, to earn 
all he could for their subsistence. The apostasy of one of his 
companions alarmed him ; and his confessor telling him that 
his going in quest of martyrdom was an illusion, he determined 
to return to Spain. Coming back to Gibralter, his piety sug- 
gested to him to turn pedler, and sell little pictures and books 
of devotion, which might furnish him with opportunities of 
exhorting his customers to virtue. His stock increasing 
considerably, he settled in Granada, where he opened a shop 
in 1538, being then forty-three years of age. 
The great preacher and servant of God, John D'Avila,* 

• The venerable John of Avila, or Avilla, who may be called the father 
of the most eminent saints that flourished in Spain in the sixteenth century, 
was a native of the diocess of Toledo. At fourteen years of age he was sent 
to Salamanca, and trained up to the law. From his infancy he applied 
himself with great earnestness to prayer, and all the exercises of pie^ and 
religion ; and he was yet very young wlien he found his inclinations strongly 
bent towards an ecclesiastical state, in order to endeavour by his tears and 
labours to kindle the fire of divine love in the hearts of men. From the 
university his parents called him home, but were surprised and edified to fee 


snrnamed the Apostle of Andalusia, preached that year at 
Granada, on St, Sebastian's day, which is there kept as a 

Jlie ardour with which he pursued the most heroic practices of Christian per- 
T'^v'^ ' which, as they both feared God, they were afraid in the least to 
*^ fj ' or damp his fervour. His diet was sparing, and as coarse as he 
oould choose without an appearance of singularity or affectation ; he con- 
trived to sleep on twigs, which he secretly laid on his bed, wore a hair shirt, 
«.iid used severe disciplines. What was most admirable in his conduct was, 
«ie universal denial of his will, by which be laboured to die to himself, added 
ro his perfect humility, patience, obedience, and meekness, by which he sub- 
J ected his spirit to the holy law of Christ. All his spare time was devoted 
t» prayer, and he approached very frequently the holy sacraments. In that 
J^^ Blessed Eucharist he began to find a wonderftil relish and devotion, 
and he spent some hours in preparing himself to receive it with the utmost 
purity of heart and fervour of love he was able to bring to that divine banquet. 
Xn the commerce of the world he appeared so much out of his element, that 
ne was sent to the university of Alcala, where he finished his studies in the 
same manner he had begun them, and bore the first prize in philosophy and 
Ills other classes. F. Dominic Soto, the leamed Dominican professor, who 
was his master, conceived for him the warmest affection and the highest 
esteem, and often declared how great a man he doubted not this scholar 
7°!^ ^^^ ^*^ become. Peter Guerrera, who was afterwards archbishop of 
J oledo, was also from that time his great admirer and constant friend. Both 
nis parents dyin^ about that time, John entered into holy orders. On the 
same daj on which he said his first mass, instead of giving an entertainment 
*^®'""'Dg to the custom, he provided a dinner for twelve poor persons, on 
^* »1"1*^^ waited at table, and whom he clothed at his own expense, and 
with his own hands. When he returned into his own country, he sold his 
^9***® ®8tAte, for he was the only child and heir of his parents : the entire 
price he gave to the poor, reserving nothing for himself besides an old suit 
ot mean apparel, desiring to imitate the apostles, whom Christ forbade to 
^^^ry^ither purse or scrip. Taking St Paul for his patron and model, lie 
entered upon the ministry of preachmg, for which sublime function his pre- 
paration consisted not merely in the study and exercise of oratory, and in a 
consummate knowledge of faith, and of the rules of Christian virtue, but 
much more in a perfect victory over Umself and his passions, the entire dis- 
engagement of his heart and affections from the world and all earthly things, 
'^^ ®n*J>*ent spirit of humility, tender charity, and inflamed zeal for the glory 
or God, and the sanctification of souls. He once said to a young clergyman, 
who consulted him by what method he could learn the art of preaching with 
fruit, that it was no other than that of the most ardent love of God. Of this 
he was himself a most illustrious example. Prayer and an indefatigable 
application to the duties of his ministry divided his whole time^and such was 
his thirst of the salvation of souls, that the greatest labours and dangers 
were equa,lly his greatest gain and pleasure : he seemed even to gather 
strength from the former, and confidence and courage fiom the latter. His 
inflamed sermons, supported by the admirable example of his heroic virtue, 
and the most pure maxims of the gospel, delivered with an eloquence and mn. 
unction a.1 together divine, from the overflowings of a heart burning vrith the 
most ardent love of God, and penetrated with the deepest sentiments of 
humility axid compunction, baa a force which the most hardened hearts 
seemed not &ble to withstand. Many sacred orators preach themselves 
rather than the word of God, and speak with so much art and care, that 
their bearers consider more how they speak than what they say. This true 
minister of tlie gospel never preached or instructed others without having 

voii. ni. F 


great festival. John, having heard hits sermon, was so afiected 
with ity that, melting into tears, he filled the whole church 

first, for a considerable time, begged of God with great eamesmess to more 
both hia toogae and the hearts of his hearers : he moanted the pulpit full of 
the most sincere distrust in hia own abilities and endeavours, and contempt 
of himself, and with the most ardent thirst for the salvation of the souls of 
all his hearers. He cast his nets, or rather sowed the seed, of eternal life. 
The Holy Ghost, who inspired and animated his soul, seemed to spei^ by 
the organ of his voice ; and gave so fruitful a blessing to his words, that 
wonderful were the conversions which he every where wrought. Whole 
assemblies came from his sermons quite changed, and their change appeared 
imme'liately in their countenances and behaviour. He never ceased to 
exhort those who were with him by his inflamed discourses, and the absent 
by his letters. A collection of these, extant in several languages, is a proof 
of his eloouence, experimental science of virtue, and tender and affecting 
charity. The ease with which he wrote them without study, shows how 
richly his mind was stored with an inexhausted fund of excellent motives 
and reflections on every subject-matter of piety, with what readiness he dis- 
posed those motives in an agreeable methodical manner, and with what 
unction he expressed them, insomuch that his style appears to be no otiier 
than the pure language of his heart, always bleeding for his own sins and 
those of the world. So various are the instructions contained in these letters, 
that any one may find such as are excellently suited to%his particular circum- 
stances, whatever virtue he desires to obtain, or vice to shun, and under 
whatever affliction he seeks for holy advice and comfort. It was from the 
school of an interior ex]perienced virtue that he was qualified to be so excel- 
lent a master. This spirit of all virtues he cultivated in his soul by their 
continual exercise. Under the greatest importunity of business, besides his 
oflice and mass, with a long preparation and thanksgiving, he never failed 
to give to private holy meditation two hours, when he first rose in the mom- 
ingy from three till five o^clock, and again two hours in the eyening before 
lie took his rest, for which he never allowed himself more than four hours of 
the night, from eleven till three o'clock. During the time of his sickness, 
towards the latter end of his life, almost his vrhole time was devoted to 
prayer, he being no longer able to sustain the fatigue of his Unctions. His 
clothes were always very mean, and usually old ; his food was such as he 
bought in the streets, which wanted no dressing, as herbs, fruit, or milk; 
for he would never have a servant. At the tables of others he ate sparingly 
of whatever was given him, or what was next at hand. He exceedingly 
extolled, and was a true lover of holy poverty, not only as it is an exercise 
of penance, and cuts off the root of many passions, but also as a state dear 
to those who love our Divine Kedeemer, who was bom, lived, and died in 
extreme Doverty. Few persons ever appeared to be more perfectly dead to 
the worm than this holy man. A certain nobleman, who was showing him 
his curious gardens, canals, and buildings, expressed his surprise to see that 
no beauties and wonders of art and nature could fix his attention or raise his 
curiosity. The holy man replied, " I must confess that nothing of this kind 
t?ives me any satisfaction, oecause my heart takes no pleasure in them." 
I'his holy man was so entirely possessed with God, and filled with the love 
of invisible things, as to loathe all earthly things which seemed not to have 
a direct and immediate tendency to them. He preached at Seville, Cordova, 
Granada, Bseza, and over the whole country of Andalusia. 63rhis discourses 
and instructions. St. John of God, St. Francis of Borgia, St. Teresa, Lewis 
of Granada, ana many others were moved, and assisted to la^ the deep 
foundation of perfect virtue to which the divine grace raised them. Many 

MaBCH 8.] ST. JOHN or GOD, c. 7! 

with his cries and lamentations ; detesting his past life, 
beating his breast, and calling aloud for mercy. Not content 

noblfinien and ladies were directed by him in the paths of Christian perfec- 
tion, particularly the Countess of Feria and the Marchioness of Piiego 
whose conduct first in a married state, and afterwards in holy widowhood, 
affords roost edifying instances of heroic practices and sentiments of all 
virtues. This great servant of Grod taught souls to renounce and cast away 
that false liberty by which they are the worst of slaves under the tyranny oF 
their passions, and to take up the sweet chains of the divine love which gives 
men a true sovereignty, not only over all other created things, but also over 
themselves. He lays down in his works the rules by which he conducted so 
many to perfect virtue, teaching us that we must learn to know both God 
and ourselves, not by the lying glass of self-love, but by the clear beam of 
truth : ourselves, that we may see the depth of our miseries, and fly with all 
our might from tiie cause thereof, which is our pride, and other sins : God, 
that we may always tremble before his infinite majesty, may believe his 
unerring truth, may hope for a share in his inexhausted mercy, and may 
vehemently love that incomprehensible abyss of goodness and charity. These 
lessons he lays down with particular advice how to subside our passions, in 
his treatise on the Audi Filia, or on those words of the Holy Ghost, Ps. xliv. 
Hear mcy daughter ^ bend thine ear, forget thy house y fye. The occasion 
upon which he composed this book was as follows : Donna Sancha CariUa, 
daughter of Don Lewis Fernandez of Corduba, lord of Guadalcazar, a young 
ilady of great beauty and accomplishments, was called to court to serve in 
quality of lady of honour to the queen. Her father fiirnished her with an 
equipiu^e, and every thing suitable ; but before her journey she went to cast 
herself at the feet of Avila, and make her confession. She afterwards said 
he reproved her sharply for coming to the sacred tribunal of penance too 
richly attired, and in a manner not becoming a penitent whose heart was 
broken with compunction. What else passed in their conference is unknown ; 
hut coming from the church, she begeed to be excused from going to court, 
laid aside all her sumptuous attire, and gave herself up entirely to recollection 
and penance. Thus she led a most retired holy life in her father's house till 
^he died, most happily, about ten years after. Her pious director wrote this 
book for her instruction in the practice of an interior life, teaching her how 
she ought to subdue her passions, and vanquish temptations, especially that 
of pride: also by what means she was to labour to obtain the love of God, 
and all virtues. He dwells at length on assiduous meditation, on the passion 
of Christ, especially on the excess of love with which he suffered so much 
for us. His other works, and all the writers who speak of this holy man, 
bear testimony to his extraordinary devotion towards the passion of Christ. 
From this divine book he learned the perfect spirit of all virtues, especially 
a desire of suffering with him and for him. U pon this motive he exhorts us 
to give God many thanks when he sends us an opportunity of enduring some 
little, that by our good use of this little trial our Lord may be moved to give 
strength to suffer more, and may send us more to undergo. Envy raising 
him enemies, he was accused of shutting heaven to the rich, and upon thajt 
xeuseless slander thrown into the prison of the Inquisition at Seville. This 
sensible disgrace and persecution he bore with incredible sweetness and 
patience, and after he was acquitted returned only kindnesses to his calum- 
niators. In the fiftieth year of his age he began to be afKicted with the stone, 
frequent fevers, and a complication of other painful disorders ; under the 
sharpest pains he used often to repeat this prayer : " Lord, increase my suf- 
ferings , but give me also patience.'* Once in a .fit of exquisite pain, he 
begged cur Kedeemer to assuage it; and tliat instant he found it totally 


with this, he ran about the streets like a distracted jH^rson, 
tearing his hair, and behaving in such a manner that he was 
followed every where by a rabble with sticks and stones, and 
came home all besmeared with dirt and blood. He then gave 
away all he had in the world, and having thus reduced 
himself to absolute poverty, that he might die to himself and 
crucify all the sentiments of the old man, he began again to 
counterfeit the madman, running about the streets as before, 
till some had the charity to take him to the venerable John 
D'Avila, covered with dirt and blood. The holy man, full of 
the Spirit of God, soon discovered in John the motions of 
extraordinary graces, spoke to him in private, heard his 
general confession, and gave him proper advice, and promised 
his assistance ever after. John, out of a desire of the greatest 
humiliations, returned soon after to his apparent madness and 
extravagances. He was, thereupon, taken up and put into a 
madhouse, on supposition of his being disordered in his senses, 
where the severest methods were used to bring him to himself, 
all which he underwent in the spirit of penance, and by way of 
atonement for the sins of his past life. D'Avila, being informed 
of his conduct, came to visit him, and found him reduced almost 
to the grave by weakness, and his body covered with wounds 
and sores ; but his soul was still vigorous, and thirsting with the 
greatest ardour after new sufferings and humiliations. D'Avila 
however told him, that having now been sujQBciently exercised in 
that so singular a method of penance and humiliation, he advised 
him to employ himself for the time to come in something more 
conducive to his own and the public good. His exhortation 

removed, and he fell into a gentle slumber. He afterwards reproached him- 
self as guilty of pusillanimity. It is not to be expressed how much he suffered 
from sickness during the seventeen last years of his life. He died with ereat 
tranquillity and devotion on the 10th of May, 1669. — The venerable John of 
Avila was a man powerful in words and works, a prodigy of penance, the 
glory of the priesthood, the edification of the church by his virtues, its sup- 
port by his zeal, its oracle by his doctrine. A profound and universad genius, 
a prudent and upright director, a celebrated preacher, the apostle of Anda- 
lusia; a man revered by all Spain, known to the whole (Christian world. 
A man of such sanctity and authority, that princes adopted his decisions, 
the learned were improved by his enlightened knowledge, and St, Teresa 
regarded him as her patron and protector, consulted him as her master, and 
followed him as her guide and model. See the edifying life of the venerable 
John of Avila, written by F. Lewis of Granada ; also by Lewis Munnoz ; 
and the abstract prefixed by ArnauM d'Andilly to the French edition of hiv 
works in folio, at Paris, in 1673. 


had its desired effect ; and he grew instantly calm and sedate^ 
to me great astonishment of his keepers. He continued, how- 
ever^ some time longer in the hospital, serving the sick, but left 
it entirely on St. Ursula's day, in 1539. This his extraordinary 
conduct is an object of our admiration, not of our imitation : in 
this saint it was the effect of the fervour of his conversion, his 
desire of humiliation, and a holy hatred of himself and his past 
criminal life. By it he learned in a short time perfectly to die 
to himself and the world ; which prepared his soul for the graces 
which God afterwards bestowed on him. He then thought of ex- 
ecuting his design of doing something for the relief of the poor ; 
and, after a pilgrimage to our Lady's in Guadaloupa, to recommend 
himself and his undertaking to her intercession, in a place cele- 
brated for devotion to her, he began by selling wood in the market 
place, to feed some poor by means of his labour. Soon after he 
hired a house to harbour poor sick persons in, whom he served 
and provided for with an ardour, prudence, economy and vigilance 
that surprised the whole city. This was the foundation of the 
order of charity, in 1540, which, by the benediction of heaven, has 
since been spread all over Christendom. John was occupied all 
day in serving his patients : in the night he went out to carry iu 
new objects of charity, rather than to seek out provisions for them ; 
for people, of their own accord, brought him in all necessaries for 
his little hospital. 

The archbishop of Granada, taking notice of so excellent an 
establishment, and admiring the incomparable order observed in 
it, both for the spiritual and temporal care of the poor, furnished 
considerable sums to increase it, and favoured it with his pro- 
tection. This excited all persons to vie with each other in con- 
tributing to it Indeed the charity, patience, and modesty of St. 
John, and his wonderful care and foresight, engaged everyone to 
admire and favour the institute. The bishop of Tuy> president 
of the royal court of judicature in Granada, having invited the 
holy man to dinner, put several questions to him, to all which he 
answered in such a manner, as gave the bishop the highest esteem 
of his person. It was this prelate that gave him the name of John 
of God, and prescribed him a kind of habit, though St. John never 
thought of founding a religious order : for the rules which bear 
his name were only drawn up in 1556, six years after his death ; 
and religious vows were not introduced among his brethren before 
the year 15T0. 

74 ST. JOHN OF GOO, C. [MaBCH 4 

To make trial of the saint's disinterestedness, the marquess ol 
Tarisa came to him in disguise to beg an alms, on pretence of a 
necessary law-suit, and he received from his hands twenty-fiye 
ducats, which was all he had. The marquess was so much edified 
by his charity, that, besides returning the sum, he bestowed on 
him one hundred and fifty crowns of gold, and sent to his hospital 
every day, during his stay at Granada, one hundred and fifty 
loaves, four sheep and six pullets. But the holy man gave a stil) 
more illustrious proof of his charity when the hospital was on fire, 
for he carried out most of the sick on his own back : and though 
he passed and repassed through the flames, and staid in the midst 
of them a considerable time, he received no hurt. But his charity 
was not confined to his own hospital : he looked upon it as his 
own misfortune if the necessities of any distressed person in the 
whole country had remained unrelieved. He therefore made strict 
inquiry into the wants of the poor over the whole province, re- 
lieved many in their own houses, employed in a proper manner 
those who were able to work, and with wonderful sagacity laid 
himself out every way to comfort and assist all the afiOicted 
members of Christ. He was particularly active and vigilant io 
settling and providing for young maidens in distress, to prevent 
the danger to which they are often exposed, of taking bad courses. 
He also reclaimed many who were already engaged in vice : for 
which purpose he sought out public sinners, and holding a crucifix 
in his hand, with many tears exhorted them to repentance. 
Though his life seemed to be taken up in continual action, he ac* 
companied it with perpetual prayer ami incredible corporal aus- 
terities. And his tears of devotion, his frequent raptures, and 
his eminent spirit of contemplation, gave a lustre to his other 
virtues. But his sincere humility appeared most admirable in 
all his actions, even amidst the honours which he received at tho 
court of y alladolid, whither business called him. The king and 
princes seemed to vie with each other who should show him the 
greatest courtesy, or put the largest alms in his hands ; whose 
charitable contributions he employed with great prudence in Yal- 
ladolid itself and the adjacent country. Only perfect virtue could 
stand the test of honours, amidst which he appeared the most 
humble. Humiliations seemed to be his delight : these he courted 
and sought, and always underwent them with great alacrity. One 
day, when a women called him hypocrite, and loaded him with 

March 8.] st. john of god, c. 7S 

invectives, he gave her privately a piece of money, and desired 
her to repeat all she had said in the market-place. 

Worn out at last by ten years* hard service in his hospital, he 
fell sick. The immediate occasion of his distemper seemed to be 
excess of fatigue in saving wood and other such things for the 
poor in a great flood, in which, seeing a person in danger of being 
drowned, he swam in his clothes to endeavour to rescue him, not 
without imminent hazard of his own life ; but he could not see his 
Christian brother perish without endeavouring, at all hazards, to 
succour him. He at first concealed his sickness, that he might 
not be obliged to diminish his labours and extraordinary auste- 
rities ; but, in the mean time, he carefully revised the inventories 
of all things belonging to his hospital and inspected all the accounts. 
He also reviewed all the excellent regulations which he had made 
for its administration, the distribution of time, and the exercises of 
piety to be observed in it. Upon a complaint that he harboured idle 
strollers and bad women, the archbishop sent for him, and laid 
open the charge against him. The man of God threw himself 
prostrate at his feet, and said : ** The Son of God came for sinners 
and we are obliged to promote their conversion, to exhort them, 
and to sigh and pray for them. I am unfaithful to my vocation 
because I neglect this ; and I confess that I know no other bad 
person in my hospital but myself; who, as I am obliged to own 
with extreme confusion, am a most base sinner, altogether un- 
worthy to eat the bread of the poor." This he spoke with so much 
feeling and humility that aU present were much moved, and the 
archbishop dismissed him with respect, leaving all things to his 
discretion. His illness increasing, the news of it was spread 
abroad. The lady Anne Ossorio was no sooner informed of his 
condition, but she came in her coach to the hospital to see him. 
The servant of God lay in his habit in his little cell, covered 
with a piece of an old coat instead of a blanket, and having 
under his head, not indeed a stone, as was his custom, but a 
basket, in which he used to beg alms in the city for his hospital. 
The poor and sick stood weeping round him. The lady, moved 
with compassion^ despatched secretly a message to the archbishop, 
who sent immediately an order to St. John to obey her as he 
would do himself, during his illness. By virtue of this authority 
she obliged him to leave his hospital. He named Anthony Martin 
soperior in his place, and gave moving instructions to his bnv 
thren^ recommending them, in particular, obedience and charity. 


lu going out he visited the blessed sacrament, and poured forth 
his heart before it with extraordinary fervour; remaining there 
absorbed in his devotions so long, that the lady Anne Ossorio 
eansed him to be taken np and carried into her coach, in which she 
conveyed him to her own house. She herself prepared with the 
lielp of her maids, and gave him with her own hands, his btoths 
and other things, and often read to him the history of the pas- 
sion of our divine Redeemer. He complained that whilst our 
Saviour, in his agony, drank gall, they gave him, a miserable 
ednner, broths. 

The whole city was in tears ; all the nobility visited him ; the 
magistrates came to beg he would give his benediction to their 
city. He answered, that his sins rendered him the scandal and 
reproach of their country ; but recommended to them his brethren 
the poor, and his religious that served them. At last, by order 
of the archbishop, he gave the city his dying benediction. His 
exhortations to all were most pathetic. His prayer consisted of 
most humble sentiments of compunction, and inflamed aspirations 
of divine love. The archbishop said mass in his chamber, heard 
his confession, gave him the viaticum and extreme unction, and 
promised to pay all his debts, and to provide for all his poor. 
The saint expired on his knees, before the altar, on the 8th of 
March, in 1660, being exactly fifty-five years old. He was 
buried by the archbishop at the head of all the clergy, both 
secular and regidar, accompanied by ail the court, nobles, and 
city, witl* the utmost pomp. He was honoured by many miracles, 
beatified by Urban VIII. in 1630, and canonized by Alexander 
VIII. in 1690. His relics were translated into the church of his 
brethren in 1664. His order of charity to serve the sick was 
approved of by Pope Pius V. The Spaniards have their own 
general ; but the religious in France and Italy obey a general 
who resides at Rome. They follow the rule of St. Austin. 

One sermon perfectly converted one who had been long enslaved 
to the world and his passions, and made him a saint. How 
comes it that so many sermons and pious books produce so 
little fruit in our souls P It is altogether owing to our sloth and 
wilful hardness of heart, that we receive God's omnipotent word 
in vain, and to our most grievous condemnation. The heavenly 
seed can take no root in hearts which receive it with indifference 
and insensibility, or it is trodden upon and destroyed by the 
dissipation and tumult of our disorderly affections, or it is choked 

March 8.] st. felix, b. c. 7T 

by the briers and thorns of earthly concerns. To profit by it, 
we must listen to it with awe and respect, in the silence of all 
creatures, in interior solitude and peace, and must carefully 
nourish it in our hearts. The holy law of God is comprised in 
the precept oi divine love ; a precept so sweet, a virtue so 
glorious and so happy, as to carry along with it its present 
incomparable reward. St. John, from the moment of his con- 
version, by the penitential austerities which he performed, was 
his own greatest persecutor; but it was chiefly by heroic works of 
charity that he endeavoured to offer to God the most acceptable 
sacrifice of compunction, gratitude, and love. What encourage- 
ment has Christ given us in every practice of this virtue, by 
declaring, that whatever we do to others he esteems as done to 
himself ! To animate ourselves to fervour, we may often call to 
mind what St. John frequently repeated to his disciples, 
'' Labour without intermission to do all the good works in your 
power, whilst time is allowed you." His spirit of penance, love, 
and fervour he inflamed by meditating assiduously on the suffer- 
ings of Christ, of which he often used to say: "Lord, thy 
thorns are my roses, and thy sufferings my paradise." 


He was a holy Burgundian priest, who converted and baptized 
Sigebert, prince of the East-Angles, during his exile in France, 
whither he was forced to retire, to secure himself from the 
insidious practices of his relations. Sigebert being called home 
to the crown of his ancestors, invited out of France his spiritual 
father St. Felix, to assist him in bringing over his idolatrous 
subjects to the Christian faith ; these were the inhabitants of 
Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. Our saint being ordained 
bishop of Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury, and deputed by 
him to preach to the East- Angles, was surprisingly sucoessfiil 
in his undertaking, and made almost a thorough conversion of 
that country. The most learned and most Christian king, 
Sigebert, as he is styled by Bede, concurred with him in all 
things, and founded churches, monasteries, and schools. From 
those words of Bede, that " he set up a school for youth, in 
which Felix fiimisht d him with masters," some have called him 
the founder of the university of Cambridge. St. Felix estab- 
lished schools at Felixtow; Cressy adds at Flixtpn or Felixton. 


King Sigebert, after two years, resigned his crown to Egric, his 
cousin, and became a monk at Cnobersburgh, now Burgh-Castle, 
in Suffolk, which monastery he had founded for St. Fursey. 
Four years after this, the people dragged him out of his retire- 
ment by main force, and conveyed him into the army, to defend 
them against the cruel King Penda, who had made war upon 
the East-Angles. He refused to bear arms, as inconsitent with 
the monastic profession ; and would have nothing but a wand 
in his hand. Being slain with Egric in 642, he was honoured 
as a martyr in the English calendars, on the 27th of September, 
and in the Galilean on the 7th of August. Egric was suc- 
ceeded by the good King Annas, the father of many saints ; as, 
SS. Erconwald, bishop ; Ethelrede, Sexburge, Ethelburge and Edil- 
burge, abbesses ; and Withburge. He was slain fighting against 
the pagans, after a reign of nineteen years, and buried at Blithe- 
burg : his remains were aftierwards removed to St. Edmond's- 
bnry. St. Felix established his see at Dummoc, now Dunwich, 
in Suffolk, and governed it seventeen years, dying in 646. He 
was buried at Dunwich; but his relics were translated to the 
abbey of Ramsey, under King Canutus. See Bede, 1. 2. Mai- 
aiesbury; Wharton, 1. 1. p. 403.* 



APOLLONIUS was a zealous holy anchoret, and was appre- 
hended by the persecutors at Antinous in Egypt. Many 
heathens came to insult and affront him while in chains ; and 
among others one Philemon, a musician, very famous, and 
much admired by the people. He treated the martyr as an 
impious person and a seducer, and one that deserved the public 
hatred. To his injuries the saint only answered, '^My son, 
may God have mercy on thee, and not lay these reproaches to 
ttiy charge." This his meekness wrought so powerfully on 
Philemon, that he forthwith confessed himself a Christian. 
Both were brought before the judge whom Metaphrastes and 
Usuard call Arian, and who had already put to death SS. Asolas, 

* Donwioh was formerly a large city, with fifly-two religioiu hooses in it, 
bat was ffradaally swallowed up by the sea. The remains of the steeples 
are still oiscoyerable, under water, about five miles from the shore. Sea 
ItSr. Gardiner's History and Antianitieg of Dunwich, 4to. in 17M. 

March 8.] 8t. julian, b. c. 79 

Timothy, Paphnntius^ and several other mirtyrs: after making 
them suffer all manner of tortures, he condemned them to be 
burnt alive. When the fire was kindled about them, ApoUonius 
prayed : " Lord, deliver not to beasts the souls who confess thee ; 
but manifest thy power." At that instant a cloud of dew encom- 
passed the martyrs, and put out the fire. The judge and people 
cried out at this miracle : '^ The God of the Christian is the great 
and only God." The prefect of Egypt being informed of it, caused 
the judge and the two confessors to be brought, loaded with irons, 
to Alexandria. During the journey, A pollonius, by his instruc- 
tions, prevailed so fkr upon those who conducted him, that they 
presented themselves also to the judge with their prisoners, and 
confessed themselves likewise to be Christians. The prefect 
finding their constancy invincible, caused them all to be thrown 
into the sea, about the year 311. Their bodies were afterwards 
found on the shore, and were all put into one sepulchre. '' By 
whom," says Rufinus, '^many miracles are wrought to the pre- 
sent time, and the vows and prayers of all are received, and 
are accomplished. Hither the Lord was pleased to bring me, 
and to fulfil my requests." See Rufinus, Vit. Patr. 1. 2. c. 19. 
p. 477. Palladius Lausiac. c. 65, 66. 



He presided in the fourteenth and fifteenth councils of Toledo. 
King Wemba falling sick, received penance and the monastic 
habit from his hands, and recovering, lived afterwards a monk. 
St. Julian has left us a History of the Wars of King Wemba, a 
buck against the Jews, and three books on Prognostics, or on 
death, and the state of souls after death. He teaches that love, 
and a desire of being united to God, ought to extinguish in us 
the natural fear of death : that the saints in heaven pray for us, 
earnestly desire our happiness, and know our actions either in 
tiod whom they behold, and in whom they discover all truth 
which it concerns them to know ; or by the angels, the messengers 
of God on earth : but that the damned do not ordinarily know 
what passes on earth, because they neither see God, nor con- 
verse with our angels. He says that prayers for the dead are 
thanksgivings for the good, a propitiation for the souls in pur- 
gatory, but no relief to the damned. He was raised to the sea 

80 ST. EOSA, V. [Maech 8. 

of Toledo, in 680, and died in 690. See Ildefonse of Toledo, 
Append. Horn. Iliustr. 



His zeal and labours in preaching the word of God, his con- 
tempt of himself, his compassion for the poor and for sinners, 
his extreme love of poverty, never reserving anything for 
himself, and the extraordinary austerity of his Ufe, to which he 
had innured himself from his childhood, are much extolled by 
the author of his life. The same writer assures us, that he was 
famous for several miracles and predictions, and that he foretold 
an invasion of the Danes, which happened ten years after his 
death, in 1263, in the reign of Alexander III. when. with their king 
Achol, they were defeated by Alexander Stuart, great grandfather 
to Robert, the first king of that family. This victory was 
ascribed to the intercession of Saint Andrew and Saint Duthak. 
Our saint, after longing desires of being united to God, passed 
joyfully to bliss, in 1253. His relics, kept in the collegiate 
church of Thane, in the county of Ross, were resorted to by 
pilgrims from all parts of Scotland. Lesley, the pious bishop of 
Ross, (who, after remaining four years in prison with Queen 
Mary, passed into France, was chosen suffragan of Rouen, by 
Cardinal Bourbon, and died at Brussels, in 1591,) had an extra- 
ordinary devotion to this saint, the chief patron of his diocess. 
See Lesley, Descript. Scot. p. 27. and the MS. life of St. Duthak, 
compiled by a Scottish Jesuit, nephew by the mother to Bishop 
Lesley, and native of that diocess. See also King in Calend. 


From her childhood she addicted herself entirely to the practice 
of mortification and assiduous prayer ; she was favoured with 
the gift of miracles, and an extraordinary talent of converting 
the most hardened sinners. She professed the third rule of St. 
Francis, living always in the house of her father in Viterbo, 
where she died in 1261. See Wadding's Annals, and Barbara, 
Vies des SS. du Tiers Ordre, t. 2. p. 77. 



He was born in the country of Hy-Conalla in Ireland, in the 
latter part of the fifth century, was a disciple of the abbots 
Cassidus and Natal, or Naal : then travelled for spiritual improve- 
ment to Rome, and thence into Britain. In this kingdom he con- 
tracted a close friendship with St. David. After his return he 
founded many churches in Ireland, and a great monastery in 
Inis-Cathaig, an island lying at the mouth of the river Shannon, 
which he governed, and in which he continued to reside after he 
was advanced to the episcopal dignity. The abbots, his successors 
for several centuries, were all bishops, till this great diocess wag 
divided into three, namely of Limerick, Killaloe, and Ardfert. St. 
Senan died on the same day and year with St. David ; but was 
honoured in the Irish church on the 8th of March. A town in 
Cornwall bears the name of St. Senan. See his acts in Colgan, 
p 602. 


He was born in Ireland, and, retiring into France, led an eremi- 
tical life at Limousin, where he acquired great reputation for his 
sanctity and miracles. He died about 589. See the Martyrology 
of Evreux. 



Abridged from her life bj her confessor, Canun. Mattiotti; and that br 
Magdalen DeU'Anguillara, superioresg of the Oblates, or Collatiues. 
Helyot, Hist, des Ordr. Mon. t. 6. p. 208. 

A.D. 1440. 

St. Frances was bom at Rome in 1384. Her parents, Paul dc 
Buxo and Jacobella Rofredescbi, were both of illustrious families. 
She imbibed early sentiments of piety, and such was her love of 
purity from her tender age, that she would not suffer her own 
father to touch even her haads unless covered. She had always 


an aversion to the amusements of children, and .oved solitude 
and prayer. At eleven years of age she desired to enter a 
monastery, but in obedience to her parents, was married to a 
rich young Roman nobleman named Laurence Ponzani, in 1396. 
A grievous sickness showed how disagreeable this kind of life 
was to her inclination. She joined with it her former spirit ; 
kept herself as retired as she could, shunning feastings and 
public meetings. All her delight was in prayer, meditation, and 
visiting churches. Above all, her obedience and condescension 
to her husband was inimitable, which engaged such a return of 
affection, that for forty years which they lived together, there 
never happened the least disagreement ; and their whole life 
was a constant strife and emulation to prevent each other in 
mutual complaisance and respect. Whilst she was at her 
prayers or other exercises, if called away by her husband, or the 
meanest person of her family, she laid all aside to obey without 
delay, saying : ** A married woman must, when called upon, 
quit her devotions to God at the altar, to find him in her house- 
hold affairs." God was pleased to show her the merit of this 
her obedience; for the authors of her life relate, that being 
called away four times in beginning the same verse of a psalm 
in our Lady's office, returning the fifth time, she found that 
verse written in golden letters. She treated her domestics 
not as servants, but as brothers and sisters, and future co-heirs 
in heaven ; and studied by all means in her power to induce 
them seriously to labour for their salvation. Her mortifications 
were extraordinary, especially when some years before her 
husband's death, she was permitted by him to inflict on her 
body what hardships she pleased. She from that time abstained 
from wine, fish, and dainty meats, with a total abstinefnce from 
flesh, unless in her greatest sickness. Her ordinary diet was 
hard and mouldy bread. She would procure secretly, out of 
the pouches of the beggars, their dry crusts in exchange for 
better bread. When she fared the best, she only added to bread 
a few unsavoury herbs without oil, and drank nothing but 
water, making use of a human skull for her cup. She ate but 
once a day, and by long abstinence had lost all relish of what 
she took. Her garments were of coarse serge, and she never 
wore linen, not even in sickness. Her discipline was armed with 
rowels and sharp points. She wore continually a hair shirt, • 
and a girdle of horse-hair. An iron girdle had so galled her 


fie3h> that her confessor obliged her to lay it aside. If she 
inadvertently chanced to offeiid God in the leasts she severely 
that instant punished the part that had offended ; as the tongue, 
by sharply biting it, &c. Her example was of such edification, 
that many Roman ladies having renounced a life of idleness, 
pomp, and softness, joined her in pious exercises, and put them- 
selves under the direction of the Benedictine monks of the 
congregation of Monte-Oliveto, without leaving the world, 
making vows, or wearing any particular habit. Saint Frances 
prayed only for children that they might be citizens of heaven, 
and when she was blessed with them, it was her whole care to 
make them saints. 

It pleased God, for her sanctification, tomake trial of her virtue 
by many afBictions. During the troubles which ensued upon the 
invasion of Rome by Ladislas, king of Naples, and the great 
schism under Pope John XXIII, at the time of opening the council 
of Coubtance, in 1413, her husband, with his brother-in-law 
Paulucci, was banished Rome, his estate confiscated, his house 
pulled down, and his eldest son, John Baptist, detained an hostage. 
ller soul remained calm amidst all those storms : she said with 
Job : ** €hd hath given^ and Qodhath taken away, I rejoice in 
these losses, because they are God's will. Whatever he sends I 
shall continually bless and praise his name for." The schism 
being extinguished by the council of Constance, and tranquillity 
restored at Rome, her husband recovered his dignity and estate. 
Some time after, moved by the great favours St. Frances received 
from heaven, and by her eminent virtue, he gave her fiill leave 
to live as she pleased ; and he himself chose to serve God in a 
state of continency. He permitted her, in his own life-time, to 
found a monastery of nuns, called Oblates, for the reception of 
such of her own sex as were disposed to embrace a religious life. 
The foundation of this house was in 1425. She gave them the 
rule of St. Benedict, adding some particular constitutions of her 
own, and put them under the direction of the congregation of the 
Olivetans. The house being too small for the numbers' that fled 
to this sanctuary from the corruption of the world, she would 
gladly have removed her community to a larger house ; but not 
finding one suitable, she enlarged it in 1433, from which year the 
founding of the Order is dated. It was approved by Pope Eugenius 
IV. in 1437. They are called CoUatines, perhaps from thequartex 
of Rome in which tbey are situated ; and Oblates, because they 

84 ST. raiNCES, w. [March 9. 

call their profession an oblation, and use in it the word ofTero, not 
profiteor. St. Frances could not yet join her new family ; but as 
toon as she bad settled her domestic aflfairs, after the death of 
iier husband, she went barefoot, with a cord about her neck, to 
the monastery which she had founded, and there, prostrate on the 
ground, before the religious, her spiritual children, begged to be 
admitted. She accordingly took the habit on St. Benedict's day, 
in 1437. She always sought the meanest employments in the 
house, being fully persuaded she was of all the most contemptible 
before God-; and she laboured to appear as mean in the eyes ot 
the world as she was in her own. She continued the same hu- 
miliations, and the same universal poverty, though soon after 
chosen superioress of her congregation. Almighty God bestowed 
on her humility, extraordinary graces, and supernatural favours, 
as frequent visions, raptures, and the gift of prophecy. She 
enjoyed the familiar conversation of her angel-guardian, as her 
life and the process of her canonization attest. She was extremely 
affected by meditating on our Saviour's passion, which she had 
always present to her mind. At mass she was so absorpt in 
God as to seem immoveable, especially after holy communion : 
she often fell into ecstacies of love and devotion. She was par- 
ticularly devout to Saint John the Evangelist, and above all to 
our Lady, under whose singular protection she put her Order. 
Going out to see her son John Baptist, who was dangerously 
sick, she fell so ill herself that she could not return to her 
monastery at night. After having foretold her death, and 
received the sacraments, she expired on the 9th of March, in 
the year 1440, and of her age the fifty-sixth. God attested 
her sanctity by miracles : she was honoured among the saints 
immediately after her death, and solemnly canonized by Paul V. 
in 1608. Her shrine in Rome is most magnificent and rich: and 
her festival is kept as a holy-day in the city, with great solemnity. 
The Oblates make no solemn vows, only a promise of obedience 
to the mother-president, enjoy pensions, inherit estates, and go 
abroad with leave. Their abbey in Rome is filled with ladies 
of the first rank. 

In a religious life, in which a regular distribution of holy 
employments and duties take up the whole day, and leave no 
interstices of time for idleness, sloth, or the world, hours pass 
in these exercises with the rapidity of moments, and moments by 
fervour of the desires bear the value of years. There is not an 

MaBCH 9.] ST. GREGOfiT, B. C. 86 

instant in which a sonl is not employed for God, and studies not 
with her whole heart to please him. Every step, every thonght 
and desire, is a sacrifice of fidelity, obedience, and love offered 
to him. Even meals, recreation, and rest are sanctified by this 
intention ; and from the religious vows and habitual purpose of 
the soul of consecrating herself entirely to God in time and 
eternity, every action, as St. Thomas teaches, renews and con- 
tains the fervour and merit of this entire consecration, of which 
it is a part. In a secular life, a person by regularity in the 
employment of his time, and fervour in devoting himself to 
God in all his actions and designs, may in some degree enjoy 
the same happiness and advantage. This St. Frances perfectly 
practised, even before she renounced the world. She lived forty 
years with her husband without ever giving him the least 
occasion of offence ; and by the fervour with which she conversed 
of heaven, she seemed already to have quitted the earth* and 
to have made paradise her ordinary dwelling. 


He was younger brother to St. Basil the Great ; was educated 
in polite and sacred studies, and married to a virtuous lady. 
He afterwards renounced the world, and was ordained lector ; 
but was overcome by his violent passion for eloquence to teach 
rhetoric. St. Gregory Nazianzen wrote to him in the strongest 
terms, exhorting him to renounce that paltry or ignoble glory, 
as he elegantly calls it.(l) This letter produced its desired 
effect. St. Gregory returned to the sacred ministry in the lower 
functions of the altar : after some time he was called by his 
brother Basil to assist him in his pastoral duties, and in 372 
was chosen bishop of Nyssa, a city of Cappadocia, near the 
Lesser Armenia. The Arians, who trembled at his name, pre- 
vailed with Demosthenes, vicar or deputy-governor of the 
province to banish him. Upon the death of the Arian emperor, 
Valens, in 378, St. Gregory was restored to his see by the 
Emperor Gratian. Our holy prelate was chosen by his 
colleagues to redress the abuses and dissensions which heresy 
had introduced in Arabia and Palestine. He assisted at the 
council of Constantinople in 381, and was always regarded as 
the centre of the Catholic communion in the East. Those 
(1^ id6lfiv tifioliayf Naz. ep. i^ 

VOL. ni. a 

86 ON THB WEirmes ov [Mabch S. 

prelates only who joined themaelTes to him, were looked upon a« 
orthodox. He died about the year 400, probably on the lOth of 
January, on which the Greeks have always kept his festival : 
the Latins honour his memory (m the dth of March. The high 
reputation of his kaming and virtue proeured him the title of 
Father of the Fathers, as the seventh general council testifies. 
His sermons are the monuments of his piety; but his great 
penetration and learning appear more in his polemic works, 
especially in his twelve books against Eunomius. See his 
life collected from his works, St. Greg. Nazian^en, Socrates, 
and Theodoret, by Hermant, Tillemont, t. 9. p. 561. Ceillier, 
t. 8. p. 200. Dr. Cave imagines, that St. Gregory continued to 
cohabit with his wife after he was bishop. But Saint Jerom 
testifies that the custom of the eastern churches did not suffer 
such a thing. She seems to have lived to see him bishop, 
and to have died about the year 384; but she professed a 
state of constinency : hence St. Gregory Nazianzen, in his short 
eulogium of her. says, she rivalled her brothers-in-law who 
were in the priesthood, and calls her sacred, or one consecrated 
to God ; probably she was a deaconness. 



St. Greoort of Nyssa wrote many learned works, extant in three Tolnmes 
in folio, published bj the learned Jesuit, Fronto le Due, at Paris, an. 1615 
and 1638. They are eternal monuments of this father's great zeal, piety, 
and eloquence. Photius commends his diction, as surpassing that of all 
other rhetoricians, in perspicuity, elegance, and a pleasing turn of expres- 
sion ; and says, that in the beauty and sweetness of his eloquence, aiid the 
copiousness of his arguments in his polemical works against Eunomius, he 
far outwent the rest who handled the same subject. He wrote many com- 
mentaries on holy scripture. The first is his Hexsmeron, or book on the 
six days' work of the creation of the world. It is a supplement to his brother 
Basil's work on the same subject, who had omitted tne obscurer questions, 
aboTO the reach of tiie vulgar, to whom he preached. Gregory filled up that 
deficiency, at the request of many learned men, with an accuracy that 
became the brother of the ffreat Basil. He shows in this work a great know- 
ledge of philosophy. He nnishes it by saying, the widow that ofiered her 
two mites did not hinder the magnificent presents of the rich ; nor did they 
who ofi^ered skins, wood, and goats' hair towards the tabernacle, hinder those 
who could giye gold, silver and precious stones. " I shall be happy," says 

March 9.] srr. grkgoby, b,c. 87 

he, '' if I can present hairs ; and shall rejoice to see others add ornaments 
of purple, or gold tissue." His book, on the Workmanship of Man, may 
be looked upon as a continuation of the former, though it was written first 
He shows it was suitable that man. being made to command in quality <x 
king all this lower creation, should find his palace already adorned, and thai 
other things should be created before he appeared who was to be the spectator 
of the miracles of the Omnipotent. His &ame is so admirable, his nature 
so excellent, that the whole Blessed Trinity proceeds as it were by a council^ 
to his formation. He is a king, by his superiority and command oyer ai 
other creatures by his gifit of reason ; is ^art spiritual, by which he can 
unite himself to God ; part material, by which he has it in his power to use 
and even euslaye himself to creatures, v irtue is his purple garment, immor- 
tality his sceptre, and eternal glory his crown. His resemblance to his 
Creator consists in the soul only, that is, in its moral yirtues and GwVs 
grace ; which diyine resemblance men most basely efface in themselyes by 
sin. He speaks of ihe dignity and spiritual nature of the soul, and the future 
resurrection of the body, and concluden with an anatomical description of it, 
which shows him to haye been well skilled in medicine, and in that branch 
of natural philosophy, for that age. The two homilies on the words. Let 
us mctke man^ are falsely ascribed to him. Being desired by one Ciesariui 
to prescribe him rules of a perfect yirtue, he did diis by his Life of Mosee^ 
the pattern of yirtue. He closes it with mis lesson, that perfection consists 
not in ayoiding sin for fear of torments, as slaves do ; nor for the hope o. 
recompense, as mercenaries do ; but in '^ fearing, as tiie only thing to be 
dreaded, to lose the friendship of God ; and in having only one desire, viz., 
of God's friendship, in which alone man's spiritual life consists. This is to 
be obtained by fixing the mind only on divine and heavenly things." We 
have next his two treatises, on the Inscriptions of the Psalms, and An 
Exposition of the Sixtii Psalm, full of allegorical and moral instructions. 
In the first of these, extolling the divine sentiments and instructiouB of those 
holy prayers, he says, that all Christians learned them, and thought that 
time lost in which they had them not in their mouths : even little children 
and old men sung them : all in affliction found them Uieir comfort sent by 
God : those who travelled by land or sea, those who were employed in seden> 
tary trades, and the faithful of all ages, sexes, and conditions, sick and well, 
made the Psalms their occupation. These divine canticles were sung bjr 
them in all times of joy, in marriages and festivals ; by day, and in the nigh 
vigils, &c. His eight homilies, on the Three First Chapters of Ecclesiastes 
are an excellent moral instruction and literal explication of that book. He 
addressed his fifteen homilies, on the Book oi Canticles, which he had 
preached to his flock, to Olympias, a lady of Constantinople, who, after 
twenty months' marriage being left a widow, distributed a great estate to 
the church and poor, a great part by the hands of our saint, whom she had 
•ettled an acquaintance with in a journey he had made to the imperial city. 
St. Gregory extols the excellency of that divine book, not to be read but by 
pure hearts, disengaged from all love of creatures, and free from all corpo- 
real images. He says the Holy Ghost instructs us by degrees ; by the Book 
of Proverbs to avoid sin ; by Ecclesiastes to draw our affections from crea- 
tures ; by this of Canticles he teaches perfection, which is pure charity. He 
explains it mystically. He has five orations on the Lord's Prayer. In the 
first, he elegantly shows the universal, indispensable necessity of prayer, 
which alone unites the heart to God, and preserves it from the approach of 
sin. Every brea& we draw ought also to be accompanied with thanksgiving, 
ajt it brings us innumerable benefits frt>m God, which we ought continually 
to acknowledge. But we must only pray for spiritual, not temporal things. 
In the second, he shows that none can justly call God father who remain in 
•in, without desires of repentance, and who consequently bear the ensigns 
of itkt deyil. Resemblance with Goi is the mark of being his son \ that t;.t^ 


lortlier obliges ns to have our mindfl and hearts always in heaven. By the 
next we pray that God alone may reign in us, and his will be ever done by 
ns ; and that the devil or self-love never have any share in our hearts or 
actions. By the fourth we ask bread, t. e, absolute necessaries, not dainties, 
not riches, or anything superfluous, or for the world, and even bread oul j 
for to-day, without solicituae for to-morrow, which perhaps will never come : 
all irregular desires, and all occasions of them, must be excluded. << The 
lerpent is watching at your heel, but do you watch his head : give him no 
admittance into your mind : from the least entrance he will draw in after 
him the foldings of his whole body. If Eve's counsellor persuade you that 
anything looks beautiftil and tastes sweet, if you listen you are soon drawn 
into gluttony, and lust, and avarice, &c." The fifth petition he thus para- 

Shrases : " I have forgiven my debtors, do not reject your suppliant. I 
ismissed my debtor cheerful and free : I am your debtor, send me not awa j 
■orrowfol. May my dispositions, my sentence prevail with you. I have 
pardoned, pardon : 1 have showed compassion, imitate your servant's mercy. 
My offences are indeed far more grievous ; but consider how much you excel 
in all good. It is just that you manifest to sinners a mercy suiting your 
infinite greatness. I have given proof of mercy in little things, according 
to the capacity of my nature; but your bounty is not to be confined by the 
narrowness of my power, &c." His eight sermons, on the Eight Beatitudes, 
are written in the same style. What he says in them on the motives of 
humility, which he thinks is meant by the first beatitude, of poverty of spirit, 
and on meekneiis, proves how much his heart was filled with thoee divine 

Besides what we have of St Gregonr on the holy scriptnre, time has pre- 
served us many other works of piety of this father. His discourse entitled, 
on his Ordination, ought to be called, on the Dedication. It was spoken by 
him on the consecration of a magnificent church, built by Hufin, (prsefect 
of the prstorium.) ann. 394, at tide Boroueh of the Oak^ near Chalcedon. 
His sermon, on Loving the Poor, is a pathetic exhortation to alms, from 
the last sentence on me wicked for a neglect of that duty. ^ At which 
threat," he says, " I am most vehemently terrified, and disturbed in mind." 
He excites to compassion for the lepers in particular, who, under their mise- 
ries, are our brethren, and it is only Goa's favour lliat has preserved us 
sound rather than them ; and who knows what we ourselves mav become ? 
His dialogue against Fate, was a disputation with a Heathen philosopher, 
who maintained a destiny or overruling fate in all things. His canonical 
epistle to Letoius, bishop of Melitine, metropolis of Armenia, has a place 
among the canons of penance in the Greek church, published by Beveridge. 
He condemns apostasy to perpetual penance, deprived of the sacraments till 
the article of death : if only extortea by torments^ for nine yean ; the same 
law for witchcraft ; nine years for simple fornication ; eighteen for adultery ; 
twenty-seven for murder, or for rapine. But he permits the terms to be 
abridged in cases of extraordinary fervour. Simple theft he orders to bi 
expiated by the sinner giving all his substance to the poor ; if he has none, 
to work to relieve them. 

His discourse against those who defer baptism, is an invitation to sinner* 
to penance, and chiefly of catechumens to baptism, death being always 
uncertain. He is surprised to see an earthquake or pestilence drive all to 
penance and to the font : though an apoplexy or other sudden death may as 
easily surprise men any night of their lives. He relates this frightful example. 
VThen the Nomaaes 'Scythians plundered those parts, Archias, a young 
nobleman of Comanes, whom he knew very well, and who deferred his bap- 
tism, fell into their hands, and was shot to death by their arrows, crying 
•at lamentably : '* Mountains and woods, baptize me ; trees and rocks, give 
me the grace of the sacrament." Which miserable death more afflicted th« 
eity than all the rest of the war. His sermons, against fornication, on 

March 9.] sr. GBsaoBY> b. c. 89 

Penanoe, on Ainu, and on Pentecost, are in the s'JDae style. In that against 
Usurers^ he exerts a more than ordinary zeal, and ittlls them : *' Loye the 
poor. In his necessity he has recoarse to you, to Bfisist his misery, bat by 
lendinff him on nsnry yoa increase it : you sow new miseries on his sorrows, 
and add to his afflictions. In appearance yon do him a pleasure, but in 
reality ruin him ; like one who, overcome by a sick man's importunities, gives 
him wine, a present satisfaction, out a real poison. Usury gives no relief, 
bat makes your neighbour's want greater than it was. The usurer is no way 
profitable to the republic, neither by tilling the ground, by trade, &c. ; yet 
idle at home, would have all to produce to him ; hates all he gains not by. 
Bat thouffh yon were to give alms of these unjust exactions, they would carry 
along wiu them the tears of others robbed by them. The beegar who receives, 
di3 he know it, would refuse to be fed with the flesh and blood of a brother ; 
with bread extorted by rapine from other jK>or. Give it back to him from 
whom you unjustly took it. — But to hide their malice, they change the name 
of usury into milder words, calling it interest or moderate profit, like the Hea- 
thens, who called their furies by the soft names Eumenides.'' He relates 
that a rich usurer of Nyssa, was so covetous as to deny himself and children 
necessaries, and not to use the bath to save three farthings, dying suddenly, 
left his money all hid and buried where his children could never find it, who 
by that means were all reduced to beggary. ** The usurers answer me," 
says he, " then we will not lend ; and what will the poor do P I bid them 
give, and exhort to lend, but without interest; for he that refuses to lend, 
and ne that lends at usury, are equally criminal ;" viz., if the necessity of 
another be extreme. His sermon on the Lent Fast, displays tiie advantage 
of fasting for the health of both body and soul ; he demands during these forty 
days' strenuous labour to cure all their vices, and insis tson total abstinence 
from wine at large, and that weakness of constitution and health is ordinarily a 
vain pretence. St. Gregory's great Catechistical Discourse is commended 
by Theodoret, (dial. 2 & 3.) Leontius, (b. 3.) Euthymins, (Panopl. p. 216.) 
Germanus patr. of Constantinople (in Photius cod. 233, &c.) The last lines 
are an addition. In the fortieth chapter he expounds to the catechumens the 
mysteries of the Unity and Trinity of God, and the Incarnation : also the 
two sacraments of baptism and the body of Christ, in which latter Christ's 
real body is mixed with our corruptible bodies, to bestow on us immortality 
and grace. In hia book upon Virginity, he extols its merit and dignity. 

St. Gregory was much scandalized in his journey to Jerusalem to see con- 
tentions reign in that holy place ; vet he had the comfort to find there several 
persons of great virtue, especially three very devout ladies, to whom he 
afterwards wrote a letter, m which he says (t. 3. p. 655, 656.) *^ When I 
saw those holy places, I was filled with a joy and pleasure which no tongue 
can express.'' Soon after his return he wrote a short treatise on those who 
go to Jerusalem, (t. 3. app. p. 72.) in which he condemns pilgrimages, when 
made an occasion of sloth, dissipation of mind, and otner dangers ; and 
observes that they are no part of the gospel precepts. Dr. Cave (p. 44.) 
borrows the sophistry of Du Moulin to employ this piece against the practice 
of pilgrimages ; but in part very unjustly, as Gretser (not. in Notas Molinei) 
demonstrates. Some set too great a value on pilgrimages, and made them 
an essential part of perfection : and by them even many monks and nuns 
exchanged their solitude into a vagabond life. These abases St. Gregory 
justly reproves. What he says, that he himself received no good by visiting 
the holy places, must be understood to be a Miosis, or extenuation to check 
the monks' too ardent passion for pilgrimages, and only means, the presence 
of those holy places, barely of itself, contributes nothing to a man's sanc- 
tification : but he does not deny it to be profitable by many devout persons 
nniting together in prayer and mortification, and by exciting hearts more 
powertully to devotion. " Movemur locis ipsis in ^uibus eorum quos admi- 
ramur aut diligimus adsunt vestigia," said Atticus in Cicero. ** Me quidem 
ille ipse nostrs Athene, non tarn operibus magnificia exqaisitisqatf 


antioaoram srtibiui delectaat. quaxn recordatione STunraoram Tirorum, ubi 
qois habitare, ubi sedere, abi msputaresit Bolitna, stadiosqiie eomm sepulchra 
contemplor." Mcich more must the sight of the places of Christ's mysteries 
stir op our sentiments and lore. Why else did St. Gregory to oyer Calvary, 
Groleotiia, OliTet, Bethlehem P What was the nnspeakabfe (spiritual cer- 
tainiT, not corporal) pleasure he wa£ filled with at their sight ? a real spiritual 
benefit, and mat which is sought oy true pilgrims. Does he not relate and 
ap])roTe the pilgrimages of his friena, the monk Olympius P Nor could he 
be ignorant of me doctrine and practice of the church. He most know in 
the third century that his coontryman Alexander, a bishop in Cappadocia, 
admonished by diyine oracle, went to Jerusalem to pray, and to visit the 
holy places, &c. as Eusebius relates ; (Hist. lib. 6. cap. 11. p. 212.) and that 
this nad been always the tradition and practice. " Longum est nunc ab 
ascenso Domini usque ad priesentem diem per singulas states correre, qui 
episcoporom, qui marbrrum, qui eloquentium in doctrina ecclesiastica viro- 
rum venerint Hierosolymam, potantes se minus reUgionis, minus habere 
scientife, nee summam ut dicitur manum accepisse virtutum, nisi in illis 
Christum adorassent locis de quibus primum Evaneelium de patibulo corus- 
caverat.'' St. Jerom, in ep. Pauls et Eustochii ad Marcellam. (T. 4. p. 550. 
ed. Ben.) As for the abuses which St. Gregory censures, they are condemncl 
in the canon law, by all divines and men of sound jodgmeut. If, with 
Benedict XIY ., we grant this father reprehended the abuses of pilgrimages, 
so as to think the devotion itself not much to be recommended, this can only 
regard the circumstances of many who abuse them, which all condemn. He 
could not oppose the torrent of other fathers, and the practice of the whole 
church. And his devotion tot holy places, relics, &c. is evident in his writ- 
ings^ and in the practice of St. Macrina and his whole familv. 

His discourse on the Besurrectlon. is the dialogue he had with his sister 
St. Macrina the day before her deatn. His treatise on the Name and Pro- 
fession of a Christian, was written to show no one ought to bear that name 
who does not practise the rules of this profession^ and who has not its spirit, 
without which a man may perform exterior duties, but will upon occasions 
betray himself, and forget his obligation. When a mountebank at Alexan- 
dria had taught an ape dressed in woman's clothes to dance most ingeniously, 
the people took it for a woman, till one threw some almonds on 3ie stage ; 
for then the beast could no longer contain, but tearing off its clothes, went 
about the stage picking up its dainty fruit, and showed itself to be an ape. 
Occasions of vain-glory, ambition, pleasure, &c. are the devil's baits, and 
prove who are Christians, and who hypocrites and dissemblers under so great 
a name, whose lives are an injury and blasphemy against Christ and his 
holy religion. His book on Perfection teaches that that life is most perfect 
which resembles nearest the life of Christ in humility and charity, and in 
dying to all passions and to the love of creatures : that in which Chrint most 
perfectly lives, and which is his best living image, which appears in a man's 
thoughts, words, and actions ; for these snow the image which is imprinted 
on the soul. But there is no perfection which is not occupied in continually 
advancing higher. 

His book on the Resolution of Perfection to the monks, shows perfection 
to consist in every action being referred to God, and done perfectly conformable 
to his will in the spirit of Christ. St. Gregory had excommunicated certain 
persons, who, instead of repenting, fell to &reats and violence. The saint 
made against them his sermon, entitled, Against those who do not Receive 
Chastisement eubmisslTely ; in which, after exhorting them to submission, 
he offers himself to suffer torments and death, closing it thus ; " How can 
we murmur to suffer, who are the ministers of a God crucified ? yet under all 
you inflict, I receive your insolences and persecutions as a father and mother 
do from their dearest children, with tenderness." In the discourse on Children 
dying without Baptism, he shows that such can never enjoy God; yet feel 
not tne severe torments of the rest of the damned. We have his sermons on 

UaBCH 9.1 ST. GntEOORY, B. c. 91 

Pentecost, Christ's Birth, Baptism, Ascension, and on hif Beenxreotion, (bat 
of these last only the first, third, and fourth, are St. Gregory's,) and two on St. 
Stephen, three on the Forty Martyrs ; the lives of St. Gregory Thaamatargusy 
StTheodonts, St. Ephrem, St. Meletius, and his own sister, St. Macrina : his 

Saneffyric on his brother, St Basil the Great, the fineral oration of Pnlcheria, 
aughter to the Emperor Theodosins, six years old, and that of his mother, 
the empress Flaccilla, who died soon after her, at the waters in Thrace^ 
St. Gregory was invited to make these two disoonrses in 385, when he was aib 
Constantinople. We have only five of St. Greaory's letters in his works. 
Zacagnius has published fourteen others out of me V atican library. Carac- 
cioli, of Pisa in 1731, has ffiren ns seven more with tedions notes. 

Saint Gre^ry surpasses himself in ^rraicfiity and stren^^ of reasoning, 
(n his polemic works against all the chief heretics of his time. His twelve 
books against Eonomins, were ever most justly valued above the rest. St. 
Basil had refoted that heresiarch's apology ; nor darsthe publish any answer, 
till after the death of that eloquent champion of the faith. Then the Apology 
of his Apology be^an to creep privately abroau. St. Gre^r^ got at last a 
copy, and wrote his twelve excellent books, in which he vindicates St. Basil's 
memory, and gives many secret histories of the base Eonomins's life. He 
proves against him the Divinity and Consubstantiality of God the Sou. 
Though he employs the scripture with extraordinary sagacity, he says, tra- 
dition, by succession from the apostles, is alone sufficient to condemn heretics. 
(Or. 3. contra Eunom. p. 123.) We have his Treatise to Ablavius, that there 
are not three gods. A Treatise on Faith also against the Arians. That oa 
Common Notions, is an explication of the terms used about the Blessed 
Trinity. We have his ten Syllogisms against the Manichees, proving that evil 
cannot be a God. The heresy of the A^ollinarists beginning to be broached, 
St. Gregory wrote to Theojmilus, patriarch of Alexandria, against them, 
showing there is but one person in Christ. But his ^eat work against Apol- 
linaris, is his Anterretic^ quoted by Leontius, the sixth general council, &c 
Only a fragment was pnnted in the edition of his father's works ; but it was 

fublished from MSS. by Zacagnius, prefect of the Vatican library, in 1698. 
le shows in it that the Divinity could not suffer, and that there must be two 
natures in Christ, who was pterfect God and perfect man. He proves, alscy 
against ApoUinaris, that Christ had a human soul with human unaerstanding. 
iiis book of Testimonies against the Jews, is another fruit of his zeal. 

St. Gregory so clearly establishes the procession of the Holy Ghost from 
the Son, that some Greeks, obstinate in that heresy, erased out of his writings 
die words out ofj as they confessed in a council at Constantinople, in 1280. 
He expressly condemned Nestorianism before it was broacheo, and says, 
" No one dare call the holy Virgin and mother of God, mother of man." 
(Ep. ad Eustath. p. 1093.) He asserts her virginity in and after the birth of 
Christ. (Or. dontr. Eunom. p. 108, and Serm. in natale Christi, p. 776.) 
He is no less clear for Transubstantiation in his great catechistical dis- 
course, (c. 37, p. 634, 535,) for the sacrifice and the altar. Or. in Bapt. 
Christi, ^. 801. Private confession of sins is plain from his epistle to Letoius 
(p. 954) m which he writes thus : '* Whoever secretly steals another man's 
goods, if he afterwards discover his sin by declaration to the priest, his heart 
being changed, he will cure his wound, giving what he has to the poor." This 
for occult l£eft, for which no canonical penance was prescribed. He incul- 
cates the authority of priests, of binding and loosing before God, (Serm. de 
Castig. 746, 747.) and calls St. Peter " prince of the apostolic choir," (Serm. 

and at lengtii on the invocation of saints, and says tiiey enjoy fiie beatific 
vision immediately after death, in his sermons on St. Theodorus, on the 
Forty Martyrsj St. Ephrem, St. Meletius, &c. 




Was a great ornament of the church in the fourth century. 
He was illustrious by birth, and had been engaged in marriage 
in the world. His son Dexter was raised to the first dignities 
in the empire, being high chamberlain to the emperor Theo- 
dosins and praefectus-praBtorio under Honorius. St. Pacian 
having renounced the world, was made bishop in 373. St. 
Jerom, who dedicated to him his Catalogue of illustrious men, 
extols his eloquence and learning, and more particularly the 
chastity and sanctity of his life. We have his Exortation to 
Penance, and three letters to Sympronianus, a Novatian noble- 
man, on Penance, and on the name of Catholic ; also a sermon 
on Baptism. See St. Jerom, Catal. Vir. Illust. c. 106. p. 196. 
1. 4. CeiUier, t. 6. Tillem. t. 8. 



When he was made bishop of Barcelona, m 373, there lived in the neighs 
bourhood of that city one Sympronian, a man of distinction, whom the bishop 
calls brother and lord, who was a Donatist, and also engaged in the heresy 
of the Novatians. woo following the severity of the Montanists, denied 
penance and paraon for certain sins. He sent St. Pacian a letter by a 
servant, in wnich he censured the church for allowing repentance to aU 
crimes, and for taking the title of Catholic. St. Pacian answers him in 
three learned letters. 

In the first he sums op the principal heresies from Simon Magus to the 
Novatians,and asks Sympronian which he will choose to stand by : entreats 
him to examine the true ehurch with docility and candour, laying aside all 
obstinacy, the enemy to truth. He says the name Catnolic comes from 
God, and is necessary to distinguish the dove, the undivided ▼irgin church 
from all sects, which are called from their particular founders. This name 
we learned from the holy doctors, confessors, and marl^rs. " My name^" 
says he, " is Christian, my surname Catholic : the one distinguishes me, the 
other points me out toothers." << Christianus mihi nomen est; Catholicus 
vero cognomen : illud me nuncupat, istud ostendit ; hoc probor, inde signi- 
ficor.'' He says that no name can be more proper to express the church, 
which is all obedient to Christ, and one and the same through the whole 
world. " As to penance," says he, " God grant it be necessary to none of 
the faithful ; that none after baptism fall into the pit of death — ^but accuse 
Bot God's mercy, who has provided a remedy a fen for those that are sick< 

MaBCH 9.] ST. P1CI15, B. a 93 

I>o«8 the infernal serpent oontiniiallj carry poison, and has not Christ a 
remedy P Does the dieTil kill, and cannot Christ relieve P Fear sin, but 
not repentance. Be ashamed to be in danger, not to be delivered out of it. 
Who will snatoh a plank from one lost by shipwreck P Who will envy the 
healing of wounds P^' He mentions the parables of the lost drachma, the 
lost sheep, the prodigal son, the Samaritan, and God^s threats, adding 
^* God would never threaten the impenitent, if he refused pardon. But you wiH 
say, only God can do this. It is true ; bnt what he does by his priests, is 
his power. What is that he says to his apostles P Whatsoever you shaK 
bind, &c. Mat. xvi. Why this, if it was not given to men to bind and tc 
loosen ? Is this given only to the apostles P Then it is only given to them 
to baptize, to give ^e Holy Ghost (in confirmation) to cleanse the sins oi 
infidels, because all this was commanded to no other than to the apostles. 
If, therefore, the power of baptism and of chrism, (confirmation,) which are 
far greater ^fts, descended from the apostles to bishops, the power of bind- 
ing and loosing also came .to them." He concludes with these words : " I 
know, brother, this pardon of repentance is not promiscuously to be given to 
all, nor to be grantee! before the signs of the mvine will, or perchance the 
last sickness ; with great severity and strict scrutiny, after many groans, 
and shedding of tears ; after the prayers of the whole church. But pardon 
is not denied to true repentance, that no one prevent or put by the judgment 
of Christ." St Pacian answers his reply by a second letter, that remedies 
seem often bitter, and says : *^ How can you be offended at my catalogue of 
heresies, unless you were a heretic P I congratulate with you for agreeing 
upon our name Catholic, which if vou denied, the thing itself would cry out 
against you." St. Pacian denies that St. Cyprian's people were ever called 
Apostatics or Capitoliiis, or by any name but that of (Catholics, which the 
^ovatians, with all their ambition for it, could never obtain, nor ever be 
known but by the name of Novatians. He savs, the emperors persecuted 
the Novatians of their own authority, not at the instigation of tne church. 
'* You say I am angry," says he ; *^ Grod forbid. I am like the bee which 
sometimes defends its honey with ito sting." He vindicates the martyr 
St. Cyprian, and denies that Novatian ever suffered for the faith ; adding, 
that ^* if he had, he could not have been crowned, because he was out of 
the church, out of which no one can be a martyr. Etoi occisus, non tamen 
coronates : quidni ? Extra Ecclesis pacem, extra concordiam, extra earn 
matrem cujus portio debet esse^ qui martyr est. Si charitatem non habeam, 
nihil sum. 1 (Jor. xiii." In his third letter he confutes the Novatian error : 
that the church could not forgive mortal sin after baptism. ^^ Moses, Saint 
Paul^ Christ, express tender charity for sinners ; who then broached this 
doctrine P Novatian. But when P Immediately from Christ P No ; almost 
three hundred years after him : since Decius's reign. Had he any prophets 
to learn it from P any proof of his revelation P Had he the gift of tongues ? 
did he prophesy P could he raise the dead P For he ou^ht to have some of 
these to introduce a new gospel. Nay, St Paul (Gal. i.) forbids a novelty 
in faith to be received from an angel. You will say, let us dispute our point. 
But I am secure ; content with the succession and tradition of the church, 
with the communion of the ancient body. I have sought no arguments." 
He asserte that the church is holy, and more than Sympronian had given it : 
but says it cannot perish by receiving sinners. The good have always lived 
amidst the wicked. It is the heretic who divides it, and tears it, which is 
Christ's garment, asunder. The church is difiused over ^e whole world, 
and cannot be reauced to one little portion, or as it were chained to a part, 
as the Novatians, whose history he touches upon. Sympronian objected, titiat 
Catholic bishops remitted sin. St Pacian answers : ** Not I, but only God, 
who both blote out sin in baptism, and does not reject the tears of penitente. 
I What I do is not in my own name, but in the Lord's. Wherefore whether 

We baptize, or draw to penance, or give pardon to penitents, we do it by 

S4 ST. FACIAN, B. C [MaBCU 9. 

Chrift's M&ority. Ton matt Me whether Cbnic ean do it, and did it.— 
Baptiein ii the saonaieiit of oar LArd'e painon ; the ]>ardon of penitents is 
the merit of conleifion. AU can obtain that, beoaose it is the grataitoua gifk 
of God ; but thia labour is bat of a small nomber who rise after a fall, and 
recover by tears, and by destroying the flesh.'' The saint shows the NovatiaDs 
encoorage sin 1^ throwing men into despair ; whereas repentance heals and 
stops it Christ does not die a second time indeed for the pardon of sinners, 
bat he is a powerfdl advocate interceding still to his Father for sinners. Can 
he forsake uiose he redeemed at so dear a rate P Can the devil enslave, and 
Christ not absolve his servants P He alleses St. Peter denying Christ after 
he had been baptized, St. Thomas increduloas, even alter the resarrection ; 
yet pardoned by repentance. He answers his objections from seriptore, and 
exhorts him to emorace the Catholic faith ; for the trae church cannot be 
confined to a few, nor be new. *^ If she began before you, if she helieved 
before yoa, if she never left her foundation, and was never divorced from her 
body, she mast be the spoose ; it is the ereat and rich house of all. God 
did not purchase with his blood so small a portion, nor is Christ so poor. 
The church of Grod dilates its tabernacles frinn the rising to the setting of 
the sun. 

Next to these three letters we have his excellent Parenesis, or exhortation 
to penance. In the first part he reduces the sins subjected to courses of 
severe public penance by the canons to three — idolatry, murder, and impurity ; 
and shows the enormity of each. In the second he addresses nimself to those 
sizmers, who out of shame, or for fear of the penances to be enioined, did not 
confess their crimes. He calls them shamerall^ timorous and bashful to do 
good, after having been bold and impudent to sm ; and says : '* And you do 
not tremble to touch the holy mysteries, and to thrust your defiled soul into 
the holy place, in the sight of the anffels, and before God himself, as if you 
irere innocent." He mentions Oza slain for touching the ark, (2 Kings vi.) 
and the words of the apostle, (1 Cor. xi.) adding: "Do not you tremble 
when you hear, he shall oe guilty of the body and olood of the Lord f One 
guilty of the blood of a man would' not rest, and can he escape who has 

Erofaned the body of the Lord P What do you do by deceiving the priest, or 
iding part of your load P I beseech you no longer to cover your wounded 
conscience. Kogo vos etiam uro periculo meo, per ilium Dominum qnem 
occulta non fallunt, desinite vuineratam te^ere conscientiam. Men sick are 
not backward to show their sores to physicians, and shall the sinner be afraid 
or ashamed to purchase eternal life by a momentary confusion P Will he 
draw back his wounds from the Lord, who is offering his hand to heal them P 
Peccator timebitP peccator erubescet perpetuam vitam prssenti pudore 
mercari P et offerenti manus Domino vulnera male tecta subducet ?" 

In his third part he speaks to those who confessed their sins entirely, but 
feared the severity of the penance. He compares these to dyingr men who 
should not have the courage to take a dose which would restore ueir health, 
and says, " This is to cry out, behold I am sick, I am wounded ; but I will 
not be cured." He deplores their delicacy, and proposes to them King David's 
austere penance. He describes Thus the life of a penitent : ** He is to weep 
in the sight of the church, to go meanly clad, to mouruj to fast, to prostrate 
himself, to renounce the bath, and such delights : if invited to a banquet he 
he is to say, such things are for those who have not had the misfortune to 
have sinned ; I have offend«>d the Lord, and am in danger of perishing for 
ever— what have I to do witn feasts P Ista felicibus: ego deliqui in Domi- 
num, et periclitor in setemum perire : quo mihi epulas qui Dominum lesi P 
You must moreover sue for the prayers of the poor, of the widows, of the 
priests, prostrating yourself before them, and of the whole church ; to do 
everything rather than to perish. Omnia prius tentare ne pereas." H« 
presses sinners to severe penance, for fear of hell, and paints a frightfol image 
of it from the fires of Vesuvius and i£toa His treatise or sermon on 


Baptinm, it an instruction on original sin, and the effects of this saerRinent, 
bv which we are reborn, as by chrism, or confirmation we receive the Holjr 
Ghost by the hands of the bishop. He adds a moving exhortation that, being 
deliyered from sin, and having renounced the devil, we no more retnm to sin,* 
such a relapse after baptism being much worse. ^' Hold therefore, strenu- 
onsly,'' says he, << what you have received, preserve it faithfully; sin no more ; 
keep yourselves pure and spotless for the day of our Lord." Besides these three 
books, he wrote one against the play of the stag, commended by St Jerom, 
but now lost. The heathens had certain in&mous diversions with a little 
ftag at the beginning of every year, mentioned by St. Ambrose, (in ps. 141.) 
andi by Nilus, (ep. 81.) It seems from the sermons, 129, 130, in the appendix 
to St. Augustine's, (t. 6.) Uiat it consisted of masquerades, dressed in the 
figures of wild beasts. Some Christians probably joined in them. St. Pacian's 
•eal dictated that book against it, but me effect it produced at that time, 
seemed chiefly to make many more curious and more eager to see that wicked 
play, as Saint Pacian himself says in the beginning of his exhortation to 
penance. The beauty of this holy doctor's writings can only be discovered 
9y reading them. His diction is elegant, his reasoning iust and close, and 
his thoughts beaatiful : he is full of unction^ wben hs «fxJrerts to virtue, and 
of strength when he attacks vice. 



She was bom of noble parentage at Bologna, in 1413. Early 
ardent sentiments of piety seemed to have prevented in ber 
the nse of reason. At twelve years of age she was placed in 
quality of a young maid of honour in the family of the princess 
Margaret, daughter to Nicholas of Est, marquis of Ferrara. 
Two years after, upon the marriage of that princess, she found 
means to recover her liberty, and entered herself in a commu- 
nity of devout ladies of the Third Order of St Francis, at 
Ferrara, who soon after formed themselves into a regular monas* 
tery, and adopted the austere rule of St. Clare. A new nun- 
nery of Poor Clares being founded at Bologna, St. Catherine 
was chosen first prioress, and sent thither by Leonarda, abbess of 
the monastery of Corpus Christi, in which she had made her 
religious profession at Ferrara. Catherine's incredible zeal and 
solicitude for the souls of sinners made her pour forth prayers 
and tears, almost without intermission, for their salvation. 
She always spoke to God or of God, and bore the most severe 
interior Mais with an heroic patience and cheerfulness. She 
looked upon it as the greatest honour to be in anything the 
servant of the spouses of Christ, and desired to be despised by 
all, and to serve all in the meanest employments. She was 


fttYonred with the gifts of miracles and prophecy : but said she 
had been sometimes deceived by the deTii. She died on the 
9th of March, 1463, in the fiftieth year of her age. Her body 
is stiJl entire, and shown in the church of her convent through 
bars and glass, sitting richly covered, but the hands, face, and 
feet naked. It was seen and described by Henschenius, Las- 
eels, and other travellers. Her name was inserted in the 
Roman Martyrology by Clement VIII., in 1592. The solem- 
nity of her canonization was performed by Clement XI., 
though the bull was only published by Benedict XIII., in 
1724 (1) A book cf her revelations was printed at Bologna, 
in 1511. She also left notes in her prayer-book of certain 
singular favours which she had received from God. These 
revelations were published and received their dress from auo- 
ther hand, which circumstance is often as great a disadvantage 
in such works as if an illiterate and bold transcriber were to 
copy, from a single defective manuscript, Lycophron, or some other 
obscure author, which he did not understand. St. Catherine 
wrote some treatises in Italian, others in Latin, in which 
language she was well skilled. The most famous of her works 
is the book entitled. On the Seven Spiritual Arms. See her 
life in Bollandus, written by F. Paleotti, fifty years after her 


From St. Basil's Homily on their festival, Hom. 20. t. 1. p. 453. and three 
discourses of St Gregory of Nyssa, t. 2. p. 203. t. 3. p. 499. 604. followed 
hy St. Ephrem. ed. Vatic. Gr. and Lat t. 2. p. 341. St. Gaudentius, 
St. Chrysostom, quoted by Photius. See Tillemont, t. 6. p. 518. Reinart, 
p. 523. Ceillier, t. 4. p. 62. Jos. Assemani in Cal. Univ. ad. 11. Martii, 
t. 6. p. 172. 

A.D. 320. 

These holy martyrs sufiered at Sehaste, in the Lesser Armenia, 
under the emperor Licinius, in 320. They were of different 
countries, but enrolled in the same troop ; all in the flower of 
their age, comely, brave, and robust, and were become consi- 
derable for their services. St. Gregory of Nyssa and Procopius 

(1) BuUar. Roman, t. 13. p. 87. 

March 10.] forty martyrs of sebaste. 97 

aay> they were of the thundering legion, so famous under Marcus 
Aurelius for the miraculous rain and victory obtained by their 
prayers. This was the twelfth legion, and then quartered in 
Armenia. Lysias was duke or general of the forces, and Agricola, 
the governor of the province. The latter having signified to the 
army the orders of the emperor Licinius, for all to sacrifice, 
these forty went boldly up to him, and said they were Christians, 
and that no torments shbuld make them ever abandon their holy 
religion. The judge first endeavoured to gain them by mild 
usage ; as by representing to them the dishonour that would 
attend their refusal to do what was required, and by making 
them large promises of preferment and high favour with the 
emperor in case of compliance. Finding these methods of gen- 
tleness ineffectual, he had recourse to threats, and these the 
most terrifying, if they continued disobedient to the emperor's 
order but all in vain. To his promises they answered, that he 
could give them nothing equal to what he would deprive them 
of: and to his threats, that his power only extended over their 
bodies, which they had learned to despise when their souls were 
at stake. The governor, finding them all resolute, caused them 
to be torn with whips, and their sides to be rent with iron hooks. 
After which they were loaded ^'ith chains, and committed to 

After some days, Lysias, their general, coming from Csesarea 
to Sebaste, they were re-examined, and no less generously 
rejected the large promises made them than they despised the 
torments they were threatened with. The governor, highly 
offended at their courage, and that liberty of speech with which 
they accosted him, devised an extraordinary kind of death ; 
which being slow and severe, he hoped would shake their con- 
stancy. The cold in Armenia is very sharp, espedally in March, 
and towards the end of winter, when the wind is north, as it then 
was ; it being also at that time a severe frost. Under the walls ov 
the town stood a pond which was frozen so hard that it would bear 
walking upon with safety. 'Rhe judge ordered the saints to be 
exposed quite naked on the ice.* And in order to tempt them 
the more powerfully to renounce their fipiith, a warm-bath was 

* The aotB and the greeter part of the writen of their Iitos snppoce they 
were to stand in the very water. Bat tbis is a circamstanoe which Tillemoot, 
Baillet, Kuinan, Ceillier, and others correct from St. Basil and St. Gregory 
of N^rsfv 


prepared at a amall distance from the frozen pond^ for any of 
this company to go to, who were disposed to purchase their 
temporal ease and safety on that oondition. The martyrs on 
hearing their sentence, ran joyfully to the place, and without 
waiting to he stripped, undressed themselves, encouraging one 
another in the same manner as is usual among soldiers in military 
expeditions attended with hardships and dangers, saying, that 
one bad night would purchase them a happy eternity.* They 
also made this their joint prayer : ** Lord, we are forty who are 
engaged in this combat ; grant that we may be forty crowned, 
and that not one be wanting to this sacred number." The guards 
in the mean time ceased not to persuade them to sacrifice, that 
by so doing they might he allowed to pass to the warm bath. 
But though it is not easy to form a just idea of the bitter pain 
they must have undergone, of the whole number only one had 
the misfortune to be overcome ; who losing courage went off from 
the pond to seek the relief in readiness for such as were disposed 
to renounce their faith: but as the devil usually deceives his 
adorers, the apostate no sooner entered the warm water but he 
expired. This misfortune afflicted the martyrs ; but they were 
quickly comforted by seeing his place and their number miracu- 
lously filled up. A sentinel was warming himself near the bath, 
having been posted there to observe if any of the martyrs were 
inclined to submit. While he was attending, he had a vision of 
blessed spirits descending from heaven on the martyrs, and dis- 
tributing, as from their king, rich presents, and precious gar- 
ments, St. Ephrem adds crowns, to all these generous soldiers, 
one only excepted, who was their faint-hearted companion, already 
mentioned. The guard being struck with the celestial vision 
and the apostate's desertion, was converted upon it ; and by a 
particular motion of the Holy Ghost, threw off his clothes, and 
placed himself in his stead among the thirty-nine martyrs. Thus 
God heard their request though in another manner than they 
imagined: ^' Which ought to make us adore the impenetrable 
secrets of his mercy and justice," says St. Ephrem, " in this in- 
stance, no less than in the reprobation of Judas, and the election 
of St. Matthias." 
In the morning the judge ordered both those who were dead 

• St. Gregory of Nyssa says, that they endured three days and three 
nights this lingering death, which carried off their limbs one after another. 

March 10.] ronrt mabttbs of sebaste. 99 

with the cold, and those that were still alive, to be laid on car- 
riages, and cast into a fire. When the rest were thrown into a 
waggon to be carried to the pile, the youngest of them, (whom 
the acts call Melito) was found alive ; and the executioners hoping 
he would change his resolution when he came to himself, left him 
behind. His mother, a woman of mean condition and a widow, 
but rich in faith, and worthy to have a son a martyr, observing 
this false compassion, reproached the executioners ; and when 
she came up to her son, whom she found quite frozen, not able to 
stir, and scarcely breathing, he looked on her with languishing 
eyes, and made a little sign with his weak hand to comfort her. 
She exhorted him to persevere to the end, and, fortified by the 
Holy Ghost, took him up, and put him with her own hands into 
the waggon with the rest of the martyrs, not only without shed- 
ding a tear, but with a countenance full of joy, saying courageously, 
" Go, go, son, proceed to the end of this happy journey with thy 
companions, that thou ma3'est not be the last of them that shall 
present themselves before God." Nothing can be more inflamed 
or more pathetic than the discourse which St. Ephrem puts into 
her mouth, by which he expresses her contempt of life and all 
earthly things, and her ardent love and desire of eternal life. 
This holy father earnestly entreats her to conjure this whole troop 
of martyrs to join in imploring the divine mercy in favour of his 
sinful soul.(l) Their bodies were burned, and their ashes thrown 
into the river ; but the Christians secretly carried ofi^ or pur- 
chased part of them with money. Some of these precious relics 
were kept at Caesarea, and St. Basil says of them ; ^' Like 
bulwarks they are our protection against the inroads of 
enemies."(2) He adds, that every one implored their succour, 
and that they raised up those who had fallen, strengthened the 
weak, and invigorated the fervour of the saints, SS. Basil and 
Emmelia, the holy parents of St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory 
of Nyssa, St. Peter of Sebaste, and St. Macrina, procured a great 
share of these relics. (3) St. Emmelia put some of them in the 
church she built near Anneses, the village where they resided 
The solemnity with which they were received was extraordinary 
and they were honoured by miracles, as St. Gregory relates. 

(1) St. Ephrem, Or. in 40 Mart t. 2. Op. 6r. and Lat. p. 354. ed. Nov 
Vatic, an. 1743. 

(2) St. Basil, Or. 20. p. 459. 

(3) St. Greg. Nyss. Or. 3. de 40 Mart t 2. p. 212, 213. 


One of these was a miraciiloas core wrought on a lame soldier, 
the truth of which he attests from his own knowledge, both of the 
fact and the person, who published it every where. He adds : 
** I buried the bodies of my parents by the relics of these holy 
martyrs, that in the resurrection they may rise with the 
encouragers of their faith ; for I know they haye great power 
with God, of which I have seen clear proofs and undoubted tes- 
timonies." St. Gaudentius, bishop of Brescia, writes in his 
sermon on these martyrs : ^' God gave me a share of these vene- 
rable relics, and granted me to found this church in their 
bonour."(l) He says, that the two nieces of St. Basil, both 
abbesses, gave them to him as he passed by Csesarea, in a journey 
to Jerusalem ; which venerable treasure they had roceived from 
their uncle. Portions of their relics were also carried to Con- 
stantinople, and there honoured with great veneration, as Sozo- 
men(2) and Procopius(3) have recorded at large, with an account 
of several visions and miracles which attended the veneration 
paid to them in that city. 

Though we are not all called to the trial of martyrdom, we are 
all bound daily to fight and to conquer too. By multiplied victories 
which we gain over our passions and spiritual enemies, by the 
exercise of meekness, patience, humility, purity, and all other 
virtues, we shall render our triumph complete, and attain to the 
crown of bliss. But are we not confounded at our sloth in 
our spiritual warfare, when we look on the conflicts of the 
martyrs ? " The eloquence of the greatest orators, and the 
wisdom of the philosophers were struck dumb : the very 
tyrants and judges stood amazed, and were not able to find 
words to express their admiration, when they beheld the faith, 
the cheerfulness and constancy of the holy martyrs .in their 
sufferings. But what excuse shall we allege in the tremen- 
dous judgment, who, without meeting with such cruel perse- 
cution and torments, are so remiss and slothful in maintain- 
ing the spiritual life of our souls, and the charity of God ! 
What shall we do in that terrible day, when the holy martyrs 
placed near the throne of God, with great confidence shall 
display their glorious scars, the proofs of their fidelity ? 
What shall we then show? shall we produce our love for 
God P true faith P a disengagement of our afiections from 

(1) S. Gaad. Brix. Serm. 17. de 40 Mart. (2) L. 9. o. 1, 2. 
« (SJ L. 1. de edific. Justinian, c. 7* 

Mabch 10:] st: mackessoge, c: 101 

earthly things ? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions P 
retirement and peace of mind ? meekness ? alms deeds and 
compassion ? holy and pure prayer? sincere compunction P 
watching and tears? Happy shall he be whom these works 
shall attend. He shall then be the companion of the mar- 
tyrs and shall appear with the same confidence before Christ 
and his Angels. We beseech you, most holy martyrs, who 
cheerfully suffered torments and death for his love, and are 
now more familiarly united to him, that you intercede with 
God for us slothful and wretched sinners, that he bestow on 
us the grace of Christ by which we may be enlightened and 
enabled to love him."(l) 


King Childebert having built at Paris a famous abbey in 
honour of St. Yincent, this saint, who was a native of the diocess 
of xVutun, had been educated under St. Germanus, abbot of St. 
Symphorian's at Autun, and was a person eminent for his learn- 
ing and extraordinary spirit of mortification and prayer, was 
appointed the second, according to Duplessis (2) according to 
others, the first Abbot of this house, since called St. Germain- 
des-Prez, in which he died about the year 680. His body is kept 
in that abbey, and he is honoured by the church on the 10th of 
March. His original life being lost, Gislemar, a Benedictin 
monk of this house, in the ninth age, collected from tradition 
and scattered memoirs that which we have in BoUandus, and 
more accurately in Mabillon. 



By his instructions and counsels the pious King Congal 11. 
governed with extraordinary prudence, zeal, and sanctity. 
This saint was illustrious for miracles, and died in 560. A 
celebrated church in that country still bears the title of Saint 
Kessoge-Kirk. The Scots for their cry in battle for some time 
used his name, but afterwards changed it for that of St. Andrew. 
They sometimes painted St. Kessoge in a soldier's habit, holding 

(1) St Eprem Homil. in SS. Martyres Op. Gr. and Lat. ed. Vat. an. 174dv 
t 2. 341. 
(i)) Duplessis' Annales de Paris, p. 60. 68. 

VOL. in. ^ 


a bow bent with an arrow in it. See the Aberdeen Breyiar}^ 
the chronicle of Pasley, (a great monastery of regular canons in 
the shire of Benfirew,) Florarium, and Buchanan, L 5. 


From his authentic life hj Alvaras, his intimate friend, and from his works, 
Bibl. Patr. t. 9. See Acta Sanct. t. 7- Fleury, b. 48. p. 67. 

A.D. 869. 

St. Eulogius was of a senatorian family of Cordova, at that 
time the capital of the Moors or Saracens in Spain. Those 
infidels had till then tolerated the Christian religion among the 
Goths, exacting only a certain tribute every new moon. Our 
€aint was educated among the clergy of the church of St. 
Zoilus, a martyr, who suffered at Cordova, with nineteen 
others, under Dioclesian, and is honoured on the 27th of June. 
Here he distinguished himself by his virtue and learning ; and 
being made priest, was placed at the head of the chief ecclesi- 
astical school in Spain, which then flourished at Cordova. He 
joined assiduous watching, fasting and prayer, to his studies : 
and his humility, mildness, and charity gained him the affec- 
tion and respect of every one. He often visited the monasteries 
for his further instruction in virtue, and prescribed rules of 
piety for the use of many fervent souls that desired to serve 
God. Some of the Christians were so indiscreet as openly to 
inveigh against Mahomet, and expose the religion established 
by him. This occasioned a bloody persecution at Cordova, in 
the 29th year of Abderrama IH. the eight hundred and fiftieth 
year of Christ. Reccafred, an apostate bishop, declared against 
the martyrs: and, at his solicitation, the bishop of Cordova and 
home others were imprisoned, and many priests, among whom 
was St. Eulogius, as one who encouraged the martyrs by his 
instructions. It was then that he wrote his Exhortation to 
Martyrdom, (1) addressed to the virgins Flora and Mary, who 
were beheaded the 24th of November, in 851. These virgins 
promised to pray as soon as they should be with God, that 

(1) Bocumentam Martjrii, t. 9. Bibl. Patr. p. 699. 


their fellow-prisoners might be restored to their liberty. Accor- 
dingly St. Eulogius and the rest were enlarged six days after 
their death. In the year 852, several saffered the like martyr- 
dom, namely, Gumisund and Servus-Dei : Anrelius and Felix 
with their wives : Christopher and Levigild : Bogel and Servio- 
Deo. A council at Cordova, in 862, forbade any one to offer 
himself to martyrdom. Mahomet sacceeded bis father upon his 
sudden death by an appoplectic fit ; but continued the persecu- 
tion, and put to death, in 853, Fandila, a monk, Anastasius, 
Felix, and three nuns, Digna, Columba, and Pomposa. Saint 
Eulogius encouraged all these martyrs to their triumphs, and 
was the support of that distressed flock. His writings still 
breathe an inflamed zeal and spirit of martyrdom. The chief 
are his history of these martyrs, called the Memorial of the 
Saints, in three books ; and his Apology for them against calum- 
niators, showing them to be true martyrs, though without 
miracles. * His brother was deprived of his place, one of the 
first dignities of the kingdom. St. Eulogius himself was obliged 
by the persecutors to live always, after his releasement, with 
the treacherous bishop Reccafred, that wolf in sheep's clothing. 
Wherefore he refrained from saying mass, that he might not 
communicate with that domestic enemy. 

The archbishop of Toledo dying in 858, St. Eulogius was 
canonically elected to succeed him ; but there was some obstacle 
that hindered him from being consecrated ; though he did not 
outlive his election two months. A virgin, by name Leocritia, 
of a noble family among the Moors, had been instructed from her 
infancy in the Christian religion by one of her relations, and 
privately baptized. Her father and mother perceiving this, used 
her very ill, and scourged her day and night to compel her to 
renounce the faith. Having made her condition known to St. 
Eulogius and his sister Anulona, intimating that she desired to 
go where she might freely exercise her religion, they secretly 
procured her the means of getting away from her parents, and 
concealed her for some time among faithful friends. But the 
matter was at length discovered, and they were all brought 
before the cadi. Eulogius offered to show the judge the true 
road to heaven, and to demonstrate Mahomet to be an impostor. 

• Some objected to these martyrs, that they were not honoured with fpB- 
quent miracles as those had been who suffered in the primitive agex. 

104 fft. EULOGrCJS OF COBDOVJfc, P. M. [MaECH 11, 

The cadi threatened to have him scourged to death. The martyr 
told him his torments would he to no purpose; for he would neve? 
change his religion. Whereupon the cadi gave orders that he 
should he carried to the palace, and presented hefore the king's 
council. One of the lords of the council took the saint aside, 
and said to him : " Though the ignorant unhappily run headlong 
to death, a man of your learning and virtue ought not to imitate 
their folly. Be ruled by me, I entreat you: say hut one word 
since necessity requires it : you may afterwards resume your own 
religion, and we will promise that no inquiry shall be made after 
you." Eulogius replied, smiling : " Ah ! if you could but con- 
ceive the reward which waits for those who persevere in the 
faith to the end, you would renounce your temporal dignity in 
exchange for it." He then began boldly to propose the truths of 
the gospel to them. But to prevent their hearing him, the council 
condemned him immediately to lose his head. As they were 
leading him to execution, one of the eunuchs of the palace gave 
him a blow on the face for having spoken against Mahomet : he 
turned the other cheek, and patiently received a second. He 
received 4;he stroke of death out of the city-gates, with great 
cheerfulness, on the 11th of March, 869. St. Leocritia was 
beheaded four days after him, and her body thrown into the river 
Boetis, or Guadalquivir, but taken out by the Christians. The 
Church honours both of them on the days of their martyrdom. 

If we consider the conduct of Christ towards his Church, 
which he planted at the price of his precious blood, and treats as 
his most beloved spouse, we shall admire a wonderful secret in 
the adorable councils of his tender providence. This Church, so 
dear to him, and so precious in his eyes, he formed and spread 
under a general most severe and dreadful persecution. He has 
exposed it in every age to frequent and violent storms, and 
seems to delight in always holding at least some part or other cf 
it in the fiery crucible. But the days of its severest trials were 
those of its most glorious triumphs. Then it shone above all 
other periods of time with the brightest examples of sanctity, 
and exhibited both to heaven and to men on earth the most 
glorious spectacles and triumphs. Then were formed in its 
bosom innumerable most illustrious heroes of all perfect virtue, 
who eminently inherited, and propagated in the hearts of many 
others, the true spirit of our crucified Redeemer. The sam« 
conduct God in his tender mercy hclds with regard to those chosen 


March 11.] st. sophroniuSj p. c. 105 

souls which he destines to raise, by special graces, highest in his 
favour. When the councils of divine providence shall be mani- 
fested to them in the next life, then they shall clearly see that their 
trials were the most happy moments, and the most precious graces 
of their whole lives. In sickness, humiliations, and other crosses, 
the poison of self-love was expelled from their hearts, their affec- 
tions weaned from the world, opportunities were afibrded them 
of practising the most heroic virtues, by the fervent exercise 
of which their souls were formed in the school ot Christ, and 
his perfect spirit of humility, meekness, disengagement, and 
purity of the affections, ardent charity, and all other virtuea, 
in which true Christian heroism consists. The forming of the 
heart of one saint is a great and sublime work*, the master- 
piece of divine grace, the end and the price of the death 
of the Son of God. It can only be finished by the cross on 
which we were engendered in Christ, and the mystery of our 
predestination is accomplished. 



He was a native of Damascus, and made such a progress in 
learning that he obtained the name of the Sophist. He lived 
twenty years near Jerusalem, under the direction of John 
Moschus, an holy hermit, without engaging himself in a religious 
state. These two great men visited together the monasteries of 
Egypt, and were detained by St. John the Almoner, at Alexandria, 
about the year 610, and employed by him two years in extirpating 
the Eutychians, and in reforming his diocess. John Moschus 
wrote there his Spiritual Meadow which he dedicated to Soph- 
ronius. He made a collection in that book of the edifying 
examples of virtue which he had seen or heard of among the 
monks, and died shortly after at Rome. Athanasius, patriarch 
of the Jacobites or Eutychians, in Syria, acknowledged two 
distinct natures is Christ, the divine and the human; but 
allowed only one will. This Demi-Eutychianism was a glaring 
inconsistency : because the will is the property of the nature 
Moreover, Christ sometimes speaks of his human will distinct 
from the divine, as in his prayer in his agony in the garden. 
This Monothelite heresy seemed an expedient whereby to com- 
pound with the Eutychians. The Emperor Heraclius confirmed 


it by an edict called Ecthesis, or the Exposition, declaring that 
there is only one will in Christ, namely^ that of the Divine 
Word : which was condemned by Pope John IV. Cyrus, bishop 
of Phasis, a virulent Monothelite, was by Heraclius preferred 
to the patriarchate of Alexandria, in 629. St. Sophronius, 
falling at his feet conjured him not to publish his erroneous 
articles; but in vain. He therefore left Egypt, and came to 
Constantinople, were he found Sergius, the crafty patriarch, 
sowing the same error in conjunction with Theodorus of Pharan. 
Hereupon he travelled into Syria, where, in 634, he was, against f 

his will, elected patriarch of Jerusalem. 

He was no sooner established in this see, than he assembled I 

a council of all the bishops of his patriarchate, in 634, to condemn < 

the Monothelite heresy, and composed a synodal iett<er to explain 
and prove the Catholic faith. This excellent piece was con- 
firmed in the sixth general council. St. Sophronius sent this 
learned epistle to Pope^Honorius and to Sergius. This latter 
had, by a crafty letter and captious expressions, persuaded Pope 
Honorius to tolerate a silence as to one or two wills in Christ 
It is evident from the most authentic monuments, that Honorius 
lever assented to that error, but always adhered to the truth. (1) 
However, a silence was ill-timed, and though not so designed, 
might be deemed by some a kind of connivance ; for a rising 
Vieresy seeks to carry on its work under ground without noise : 
•t is a fire which spread"* itself under cover. Sophronius seeing 
the emperor and almost all the chief prelates of the East con- 
spire against the truth, thought it bis duty to defend it with the 
greater zeal. He took Stephen, bishop of Doria, the eldest of his 
sufiragans, led him to Mount Calvary, and there abjured him by 
Him who was crucified on that place, and by the account which he 
should give him at the last day, " to go to the apostolic see, 
where are the foundations of the holy doctrine, and not to cease 
to pray till the holy persons there should examine and condemn 
the novelty." Stephen did so, and staid at Rome ten years, till 
he saw it condemned by Pope Martin I. in the council of ■ 

Lateran, in 649. Sophronius was detained at home by the J 

invasion of the Saracens. Mahomet had broached his impostures 
at Mecca, in 608, but being rejected there, fled to Medina^ in 622. 
Abe ubektr succeeded him in 634, under the title of Caliph, or 

(1) See Nat. Alexander, Ssec. 7* Wittasse and Tounelj Tr. de incaLP^ 

March 11.] st. iENGUs, b. c. 107 

vicar of the prophet. He died after a reign of two years. 
Omar^ his scecessor, took Damacus in 636, and after a siege of 
two years, Jemsalem, in 638. He huilt a mosque in the place 
of Solomon's temple, and because it fell in the night, the Jews 
told him it would not stand unless the cross of Christ, which 
stood on Mount Calvary, was taken away: which the Caliph 
caused to be done.(l) Sophronius, in a sermon on the exaltation of 
the cross, mentions the custom of taking the cross out of its 
case at Mid-Lent to be venerated. (2) Photius takes notice 
that his works breathe an afifecting piety, but that the Greek is 
not pure. They consist of his synodal letter, his letter to Pope 
Honorius, and a small number of scattered sermons. He deplored 
the abomination of desolation set up by the Mahometans in the 
holy place. God called him out of those evils to his kingdom on 
the 11th of March, 639, or as Papebroke thinks,(3) in 644. See 
the council of Lateran, t. 6. Cone. Fleury, b. 37, 38. and Le Quien, 
Oriens Christ, t. 3. p. 264. 

• ST. ^NGUS, B. C. 

This saint is distinguished by the surname of Kele De, that is 
Worshipper of God ; which began in his time to be the denomi- 
nation of monks in the Scottish language, commonly called 
Culdees. He was bom in Ireland in the eight century, of the 
race of the Dalaradians, kings of Ulster. In his youth renounc- 
ing all earthly pretentions, he chose Christ for his inheritance, 
embracing a religious state in the famous monastery of Cluain- 
Edneach in East Meath. Here he became so great a proficient 
both in learning and sanctity, that no one in his time could be 
found in Ireland that equalled him in reputation for every kind 
of virtue, and for sacred knowledge. To shun the esteem of the 
world, he disguised himself, and going to the monastery of 
Taml^ht, three miles firom Dublin, lived there seven years 
unknown, in the quality of a lay-brother, performing all the 
drudgery of the house, appearing fit for nothing but the vilest 

(1) Theophanes, p. 284. 

(2) In medio jejunii, adorationis gratis, propoDi golet vitale lignam vene- 
randse crucis. Sophr. Serm. in Exalt Crucis. Bibl. Patr. t. 12. p. 214. e^ 
apnd Gretser, t. 2. do Cruce, p. 88. 

(3) Papehr. Tr. prffilim. ad t. 3. Mail, d. 144. p. 32. 


^employs, whilst his interior hy perfect love and contemplation 
was ahsorhed in God. Being at length discovered, he some 
time after returned to Cluain-Edneach, where the continual aus- 
terity of his life, and his constant application to God in prayer, 
may be more easily admired than imitated. He was chosen 
abbot, and at length raised to the episcopal dignity: for it was 
usual then in Ireland for eminent abbots in the chief monasteries 
to be bishops. He was remarkable for his devotions to the saints, 
and he left both a longer and a shorter Irish Martyrology, and 
five other books concerning the saints of his country, contained in 
what the Irish call Saltair na-Rann. He died about the year 
824, not at Clauain-Edneach, but at Desert Mngnis, which became 
also a famous monastery, and took its name from him. See his 
acts in Colgan, p. 579. 


He is said to have been -a British king, who, after the death of 
his queen, resigned the crown to his son, and became a monk^in 
the monastery of St. David. It is added that he afterwards went 
into North Britain, and joined St. Columba in preaching the 
gospel amongst the Picts, who then inhabited a great part of 
what is now called Scotland. He founded a monastery at Govane, 
near the river, Cluyd, converted all the land of Cantire to the 
faith of Christ, and died a martyr by the hands of infidels, 
towards the end of the sixth century. He was buried in his 
monastery of Govane, and divers churches were erected in Scot- 
land under his invocation. But it seems most probable that the 
Scottish martyr is not the same person with the British king. 
Colgan supposes him to have been an Irish monk who had lived 
in the <;ommunity of St. Carthag, at Rathane.* 

• Seethe MS. Lives of Scottish Saints, compiled by a Jesuit, v\ho was 
pephew of Bishop Lesley, kept in the Scottish College at Paris. Several 
Scottish historians give the title of saint to Constantine III. king of the 
Scots, who, forsaking his crown and the world, entered himself amongst 
(be Culdees; or religious men of St. Andrew's, in 946. 

March 12.] st. geegoby the great, p. c. 109 


From his works, Bede, and Paul, deacon of Monte Cassino. towards the 
end of the eighth century. Hig life in four books, by Jonn, deacon of 
Rome in the ninth age, is full of mistakes, as Baronius observes. See 
his history, compiled in French by Dom JDiouysius of Sainte-Marthe, 
superior-general of the Maurist moukfi, printed at Kouen in 4to. 1697, and 
more accurately in Latin by the same author, in the 4to. tome of this 
father's works, in 1706. See also Fleury, b. 34, 35, 36. Mabillon, Annal. 
Bened. 1. 6. t. 1. Ceillier, t. 17. p. 128. F. Wietrowski, S. J. Historia 
de rebus in Pontificatu, S. Gregorii M. gestis, in fol. Gradonici, S. Gre- 
gorius, M. Pontifex, a criminationibus Oudini vindicatus. and Hieron. 
Muzio in Coro Pontificale. 

A.D. 604. 

St. Gregory, from his illustrious actions and extraordinary 
virtues, surnamed the Great, was born at Rome, about the 
year 540. Gordianus, his father, enjoyed the dignity of a 
senator, and was very wealthy ; but after the birth of our saint, 
renounced the world, and died Regionarius, that is, one of the 
seven cardinal deacons who took care of the ecclesiastical dis- 
tricts of Rome. His mother, Sylvia, consecrated herself to God 
in a little oratory near St. Paul's. Our saint was called Gre- 
gory, which in Greek implies a watchman^ as Yigilius and 
Vigilantius in Latin. In his youth he applied himself, with 
unabated diligence, to the studies of grammar, rhetoric, and 
philosophy ; and after these first accomplishments, to the civil 
law and the canons of the church, in which he was perfectly 
skilled. He was only thirty-four years old when, in 574, he 
was made, by the emperor Justin the Younger, pretor, or gov- 
ernor and chief magistrate of Rome. By this dignity he was 
the chief judge of the city ; his pomp and state differed little 
from that of a consul, and he was obliged to wear the Trabea, 
which was a rich robe of silk, magnificently embroidered, and 
sparkling with precious stones ; a garment only allowed to the 
consuls and pretor. But he could say, with Esther, that his 
heart always detested the pride of the world. From his infancy 
he loved and esteemed only heavenly things, and it was his chief 
delight to converse with holy monks, or to be retired in his closet, 
or in the church at his devotions. After the death of his father, 
he built and endowed six monasteries in Sicily, out of the estates 
which he had in that island, and founded a seventh in his own 


liOUB6 in Rome, which was the famous monastery of SL Andrew, 
on the hill Scarus,* now possessed by the Order of Camaldoli. 
The first abbot of this house was Hilarion, the second Valentinus, 
under whom St. Gregory himself took the monastic habit, in 
575, being thirty-five years old. In this retirement, Gregory 
applied himself with such vigour to fasting and the study of the 
sacred writings, that he thereby contracted a great weakness in 
his stomach, and used to fall into fits of swooning if he did not 
frequently eat. What gave him the greatest affliction was his 
not being able to fast on an Easter-Eve, a day on which, says 
John the deacon, every one, not even excepting little children, 
are used to fast. His great desire of conforming to the universal 
practice on that day occasioned his applying to a monk of 
eminent sanctity, named Eleutherius, with whom having prayed, 
and besought God to enable him to fast at least on that sacred 
day, he found himself on a sudden so well restored, that he not 
only fasted that day, but quite forgot his illness as he himself 
relates. (1) 

It was before his advancement to the see of Rome, or even to 
the government of his monastery, that he first, as Paul the 
deacon testifies, projected the conversion of the English nation. 
This great blessing took its rise fromthe following occasion.(2) 
Gregory happened one day to walk through the market, and here 
taking notice that certain youths of fine features, and complexion, 
were exposed to sale, he inquired what countrymen they were, 
and was answered, that they came from Britain. He asked if 
the people of that country were Christians or heathens, and 
was told they were still heathens. Then Gregory drawing a deep 
sigh, said : ^^ It was a lamentable consideration that the prince 
of darkness should be master of so much beauty, and have so 
comely persons in his possession ; and that so fine an outside 
should have nothing of God's grace to furnish it within."t This 

(1) Dial. 1. 3. c. 33. (2) Hist. b. 2. c. 1. 

• See Annot. at the end of the life, t). 145 infra. 

I Bede adds, that he again asked what was the name of that nation, and 
was answered, that thej were called Angli or Aneles. '^ B.ight,'' said he, 
^* for they have angelical faces, and it becomes such to be companions with 
ihe angels in heaven. What is the name (proceeded he) of the province from 
rhich they are brought P" It was replied, that the natives of that were 
called Deiri. " Truly Dciri, because withdrawn from wrath, and called to 
the mercy of Christ," said ho^ alluding to the Latin De ir& Vei eruti. He 
asked further, ** How ia the \mg of that province called p'' They told him 

March 12.] st. Gregory the great, p. c. Ill 

incident made so great an impression upon him, that he applied 
himself soon after to Pope Benedict I. and earnestly requested 
that some persons might be sent to preach Christianity in Britain. 
And not finding any one disposed to undertake that mission, 
he made an offer of himself for the service, with the pope's 
consent and approbation. Having obtained leave, he privately 
set forward on his journey, in company with several monks 
of his own monastery. But when his departure was known, 
the whole city was in an uproar, and the people ran in a body 
to the pope, whom they met going to St. Peter's church. They 
cried out to him in the utmost consternation : *' Apostolic father, 
what have you done P In suffering Gregory to go away, you 
have destroyed Rome : you have undone us, and offended St. 
Peter." At these pressing instances the pope despatched 
messengers to recall him : and the saint being overtaken by them 
on the third day, was obliged, though with great reluctance, 
to return to Rome. Not long aft^r the same pope, according to 
John the deacon, and the Benedictines, or as Paul the deacon, 
and Baronius say, his successor Pelagius II. made him one of 
the seven deacons of the church at Rome, who assisted the pope. 
Pels^us II. sent him to Constantinople in quality of Apocrisi- 
arius, or Nuncio of the holy see, to the religious Emperor Tiberius, 
by whom the saint was received and treated with the highest dis- 
tinction. This public employment did not make him lay aside the 
practices of a monastic life, in order to which he had taken with 
him certain monks of his house, with whom he might the better 

his name was Aile ; and he, making an allusion to the word, said : ^< AUe- 
loiah, the praise of God the Creator, must be sung in those parts.'' Some 
censure this conversation of St. G regory as a piece of low punning. But 
the taste of that age must be considered. St. Austin found it necessary to 
play sometimes with words to please auditors whose ears had, by custom, 
caught an itch to be sometimes tickled by quibbles to their fancy. The 
ingenious author of the late life of the Lord Chancellor Bacon, thought 
custom an apology for the most vicious style of that great man. of whom 
he writes : " His style has been objected to as full of affectation, full of false 
eloquence. But that was the vice, not of the man, but of the times he lived 
in ; and particularly of a court that delighted in the tinsel of wit and learn- 
ing, in the poor ingenuity of punning and quibbling." St. Gregory was a 
man of a tine genius and of true learning ; yet in familiar converse miffht 
conform to the taste of the age. Far from censuring his wit, or the juag- 
ment of his historian, we ought to admire his piety, which from every cir- 
cumstance, even from words, drew allusions to nourish devotion, and turn 
tlie heart to God. This we observe in other saints, and if it be a fault, we 
might more justly censure on this account the elegant epistles of St Paulmus, 
«• Sulpicius Severus, than this dialogue of St. Gregory. 


continue them, and by their example excite himself to recollec- 
tion and prayer. At the request of St. Leander, bishop of 
Seville, whom he saw at Constantinople, he wrote in that city 
nis thirty-five books of Morals upon Job, giving chiefly the 
moral and allegorical interpretations of the sacred book, in such 
a manner as to reduce into one body the most excellent prin- 
ciples of morality, and also of an interior life, of both which 
this admirable work hath been ever since regarded as the great 
storehouse and armory. Out of it St. Isidore, St. Thomas, and 
other masters of those holy sciences have chiefly drawn their 
sublime maxims. Mauritius having married the daughter of 
Tiberius, in 682, who had the empire for her dowry, St. Gregory 
was pitched upon to stand god-father to his eldest son. 
Eutychius was at that time patriarch of Constantinople.* This 
prelate, having sufiered for the faith under Justinian, fell at 
length into an error, importing, that after the general resurrec- 
tion the glorified bodies of the elect will be no longer palpable, 
but of a more subtile texture than air. This error he couched 
in a certain book which he wrote. St. Gregory was alarmed, 
and held several -conferences with the patriarch upon that subject, 
both in private and before the emperor, and clearly demon- 
strated from the scriptures, that the glorified bodies of the 
saints will be the same which they had on earth, only deli- 
vered from the appendixes of mortality ; and that they will be 
palpable as that of Christ was after his resurrection. (1) The 
good bishop being docile and humble, retracted his mistake, 
and shortly after falling sick, in presence of the emperor, 
who had honoured him with a visit, taking hold of his skin 
with his hand, said: "I profess the belief that we shall all 
rise in this very flesh."t 

(IJ St. Gre^. Moral. 1. 14. c. 76. t, 1. p. 466. 

• Eirtjycliius had formerly defended the Catholic faith wiUi great zeai 
against the Eutychians and the errors of the emperor Justinian, who, though 
he condemned those heretics, yet adopted one part of their hlasphemies, 
asserting that Christ assumed a body which was by its nature incorruptible, 
not formed of the Blessed Virgin, and subject to pain, hunger, or alteration, 
only by a miracle. This was called the heresy of the Incorrupticolae, of 
which Justinian declared himself the abettor ; and. after many great exploits 
to retrieve the ancient glory of the empire, tamisned his reputation by per- 
secuting the Catholic church and banishing Eutychius. 

t He died in 582, and is ranked by the Greeks among the saints. See 
the BoUandists in viti S. Eutychii ad 6 Apr. 


March 12.] st. Gregory the great, p. c. 11^ 

Pope Pelagius recalled St. Gregory in 584. He brought ivith 
aim to Rome an arm of St. Andrew, and the head of 8t, Ltike> 
\<rldch the emperor had given him. He placed both these relics 
in his monastery of St. Andrew, where the former renmins to 
this day; but the latter has been removed thence to St. Peter's ♦ 
where it still continues. The saint with joy saw himself 
restored to the tranquillity of his cell, where he eagerly 
desired to bury himself with regard to the world, trom which 
he had fled naked into this secure harbour; becausej as he 
signified to St. Leander, he saw how difficult a thing it is to 
converse with the world without contracting inordinate attach- 
ments.* Pope Pelagius also made him his secretary. He still 
continued to govern his monastery, in which he showed a 
remarkable instance of severity. Justus, one of his moiiks, 
had acquired and kept privately three pieces of gold, which he 
confessed on his death-bed. St. Gregory forbade the comm^inity 
to attend and pray by his bed-side, according to custom ; but 
could not refuse him the assistance of a priest^ which the 
council of Nice ordained that no one should be deprived of at 
the hour of death. Justus died in great sentiments of com- 
punction ; yet, in compliance with what the monastic discipline 
enjoins in such cases, in imitation of what St. Macarius had 
precribed on the like occasion, he ordered his corpse to be 
buried under the dunghill, and the three pieces of money 
to be thrown into the grave with it. Nevertheless, as he 
died penitent, he ordered mass to be daily offered up for him 
during thirty days.f St. Gregory says, (1) that after the 
mass of the thirtieth day, Justus appearing to his brother 
Copiosus, assured him that he had been in torments, but was 
then released. Pope Pelagius II. dying in the beginning of 
the great pestilence, in January, 590, the clergy, senate, and 
Roman people unanimously agreed to choose St. Gregory for theii 
bishop, although he opposed his election with all hit* power. 
(1) Dial. 1. 4. c. 56. p. 466. t. 2. 

• Fleury thinks he was chosen abbot before his embassy to ConstaDtinople ; ; 

but Ceillier and others prove, that this only happened after his return. 

t It appears from the life of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarchj from Sai* 
Ambrose's funeral oration on Valentinian, and other monumenu, tlmt it wai 
the custom, from the primitive ages, to keep the third, seventh, and thirtieth 
or sometimes fortieth aay after the decease of a Christian, witli solemn prayers 
and sacrifices for the departed soul. From this fact of St. Gregory, a trenta. 
of masses for a soul departed are usually called the Gregorian masses, on 
which see Gavant and otherst 


It waa *hen the custom at the election of a pope to consult 
the emperor as the head of the senate and people. Our saint, 
trusting to his friendship with Mauritius, to whose son he 
stood god-father, wrote to him privately to conjure him not to 
approve of this choice. He wrote also with great earnestness 
to John, patriarch of Constantinople, and to other powerful 
friends in that city, hegging them to employ their interest with 
the emperor for that purpose ; hut complains in several letters 
afterwards that they had all refused to serve him. The governor 
of Rome intercepted his letters to the emperor, and sent others 
to him, in the name of the senate and people, to the contrary 
effect. In the mean time, the plague continued to rage at Rome 
with great violence; and, while the people waited for the 
emperor's answer, St. Gregory took occasion from their calami- 
ties to exhort them to repentance. Having made them a pathetic 
sermon on the subject,* he appointed a solemn litany, or pro- 
cession, in seven companies, with a priest at the head of each, 
who were to march from different churches, and all to meet in 
that of St. Mary Major ; singing Kyrie Eleison as they went along 
the streets. During this procession there died in one hour's 
time fourscore of those who assisted at it. But St. Gregory did 
not forbear to exhort the peopl'i, and to pray till such time as the 
distemper ceased.f During the public calamity, St. Gregory 
seemed to have forgotten the danger he was in of being exalted to 
the pontifical throne ; for he feared as much to lose the security of 
bis poverty as the most avaricious can do to lose their treasures. 
He had been informed that his letters to Constantinople had 
been intercepted; wherefore, not being able to go out of the 
gates of Rome, where guards were placed, he prevailed with 
certain merchants to carry him off disguised, and shut up in a 
wicker basket. Three days he lay concealed in the woods and 
caverns, during which time the people of Rome observed fasts 
and prayers. Being miraculously discovered,J and no longer 
able, as he says himself, (1) to resist, after the manifestations of 
(1) L. 1. ep. 21. 1. 7. ep. 4. 

• It is inserted by St. Gregory of Tours in his history. Greg. Touron. 
•. 10. c. 1. 

t Some moderns say, an angel was seen sheathing his sword on the stately 
pile of Adrian's sepulchre. But no such circumstance is mentioned by Saint 
Gregory of Tours, Bede, Paul, or John. 

I Paul the deacon says, it was by a pillar of light appearing over th«! 
|tlace where he lay concealed. 


the divine will, be was taken, brought back to Borne with great 
acclamations, and consecrated on the 3rd of September, in 590. 
In this ceremony he was conducted, according to custom, to the 
confession of St. Peter, as his tomb is called ; where he made a 
profession of his faith, which is still extant in his works. He 
sent also to the other patriarchs a synodal epistle, in which was 
contained the profession of his faith. (1) In it he declares, that 
he received the four general councils as the four gospels. He 
received congratulatory letters upon his exaltation ; to all which 
he returned for answer rather tears than words, in the most 
feeling sentiments of profound humility. To Theoctista, the 
emperor's sister he wrote thus : (2) " I have lost the comfort of 
my calm, and, appearing to be outwardly exalted, I am inwardly 
and really fallen. — My endeavours were to banish corporeal 
objects from my mind, that I might spiritually behold hea- 
venly joys. Neither desiring nor fearing anything in the 
world, I seemed raised above the earth, but the storm had 
cast me on a sudden into alarms and fears; I am come into 
the depth of the sea, and the tempest hath drowned me." 
He adds: *^The emperor hath made an ape to be called a 
lion ; but cannot make him become one.'' In his letter to 
Narses, the patrician, he says: (3) '*I am so overcome with 
grief, that I am scarcely able to speak. My mind is encom- 
passed with darkness. All that the world thinks agreeable, 
brings to me trouble and affliction." To St. Leander he 
writes: **I remember with tears that I have lost the calm 
harbour of my repose, and with many a sigh I look upon the 
firm land which I cannot reach. If you love me, assist me 
with your prayers." He often invites others to weep with 
him, and conjures them to pray for him. John, archbishop 
of Ravenna, modestly reprehended his cowardice in endeavour- 
ing by flight, to decline the burden of the pastoral charge. 
In answer to his censure, and to instruct all pastors, soon 
after his exaltation, he wrote his incomparable book. On the 
Pastoral Care, setting forth the dangers, duties, and obliga- 
tions, of that charge, which he calls, from St. Gregory 
Nazianzen, the art of arts, and science ot sciences. So great was 
the reputation of this performance, as soon as it appeared, that 
the Emperor Mauritius sent to Rome for a copy ; and Anastasius, 

(1) L. 1. ep. 25. (2) L. 1. ej). 6. J). 491. (3) L. 1. ep. 6. p. 498. 


tlie holy patriarch of Antioch, translated it into Greek. Many 
popes and councils have exhorted and commanded pastors of 
souls frequently to read it, and in it, as in a looking-glass, to 
behold themselves. (1) Our English saints made it always their 
rule, and King Al&ed translated it into the Saxon tongue. In this 
book we read a transcript of the sentiments and conduct of our 
excellent pastor. His zeal for the glory of God, and the 
angelical function of paying him the constant tribute of praise 
in the church, moved him, in the beginning of his pontificate, to 
reform the church music* Preaching he regarded as the 
principal and most indispensable function of every pastor of 
souls, as it is called by St. Thomas, and was most solicitous 
to feed his flock with the word of God. His forty homilies 
on the gospels, which are extant, show that he spoke in a plain 
and familiar style, and without any pomp of words ; but with a 
surprising eloquence of the heart. The same may be said of 
his twenty-two homilies on Ezekiel, which he preached whilst 
Rome was besieged by the Lombards^ in 692. In the nineteenth 
he, in profound humility^ applies to himself, with tears, what- 

(l) Cone. 3. Touron. can. 3. See Dom Bulteau's Preface to his French 
translation of St. Gregory's Pastoral, printed in 1629. 

* He reformed the Sacramentary, or Missal and Bitual of the Boman 
Church. In the letters of SS. Innocent I., Celestine I., and St. Leo, we 
find mention made of a written Boman Order of the mass : in this the essential 
parts were always the same ; hut accidental alterations in certain prayers 
have been made* Pope Gelasius thus augmented and revised the liturgy, in 
490 ; his genuine Sacramentary was published at Bome by Thomasi, in 1680. 
In it are mentioned the public veneration of the cross on Good Friday, the 
solemn benediction of the holy oils, the ceremonies of baptism, frequent 
invocation of saints, veneration shown to their relics, the benediction of 
holy water, votive masses for travellers, for the sick and the dead, masses 
on festivals of saints, and the like. The Sacramentary of St. Gregory differs 
from that of Gelasius only in some collects or prayers. The conformity 
between the present church office and the ancient appears from this work, 
and the saint^s Antiphonarius and Besponsorium. The like ceremonies »i d 
benedictions are found in the apostolic constitutions, and all other anc ent 
liturgic writings ; out of which Grabe, Hickes, Deacon, and otheft nave 
formed new liturgies very like the present Boman, and several of iLem have 
restored the idea of a true sacrifice. Dom Menard has enriched the Sacra- 
mentary of St. Gregory with most learned and curious notes. 

Besides his Comments or Morals on the Book uf Job,, which he wrote at 
Constantinople, about the year 682, in which we are not to look for an expo- 
sition of the text, but an excellent compilation of the main principles of 
morality, and an interior life, we have his exposition of Ezekiel, in twenty- 
two homilies. These were taken in short hand as he pronounced them, and 
were preached by him at Bome, in 592, when Agilulph the Lombara was 
laying waste the whole territory of Bome. See 1. 2. in Ezeeh. hom. 6. and 


March 12.] st. Gregory the great, p. c. jit 

ever the prophet spoke against slothful mercenary pastors. 
Paul the deacon relates, that after the saint's death, Peter the 
deacon, his most intimate friend, testified that he had seen in a 
vision, as an emblem of the Holy Ghost, a dove appear on his 
head, applying his bill to his ear whilst he was writing on the 
latter part of Ezekiel. 

This great pope always remembered, that, by his station, he 
was the common father of the poor. He relieved their necessities 
with so much sweetness and affability, as to spare them the 
confusion of receiving the alms ; and the old men among them he, 
out of deference, called his fathers. He often entertained several 
of them at his own table. He kept by him an exact catalogue of 
the poor, called by the ancients matriculae ; and he liberally pro- ' H ^"^ 

vided for the necessities of each. In the beginning of every month 
he distributed to all the poor, corn, wine, pulse, cheese, fish, flesh, 
and oil; he appointed ofl&cers for every street to send every 
day necessaries to aU the needy sick ; before he eat he always 
sent off meats from his own table to some poor persons. One 

Paul the deacon, 1. 4. hist. Longob. c. 8. The exposition of the text is alle- 
gorical, and only intended fur ushering in the moral reflections, which are 
much shorter than in the books on Job. His forty homilies on the gospels 
he preached on several solemnities whilfit he was pope. His incomparable 
booK, on the Pastoral Care, which is an excellent instruction of pastors, 
and was drawn up by him when he saw himself placed in the pontificate, 
cousists of four parts. In the first he treats of the dispositions requisite in 
one called to the pastoral charge ; in the second of the duties of a pastor ; 
in the third, on the instruction which he owes to his flock ; and, in the fourth, 
on his obligation of watching over his own heart, and of diligent self- 
examination. In four books of dialogues, between himself and his disciple 
Peter, he recounts the miracles of his own times, \ipon the authority of 
vouchers, on whose veracity he thought he could rely. He so closely adherei 
to their relations, that the style is much lower than in his other writings. See 
the preface of the Benedictin editor on this work. His letters are published 
in fourteen books, and are a very interesting compilation. We have Saint 
Gregory's excellent exposition of the book of Canticles, which Ceillier proves 
to be genuine against Oudin, the apostate, and some others. The six books 
on the First Book of Kings are a valuable work, but cannot be ascribed to 
St. Gregory the Great. The commentary on the Seven Penitential Psalms 
Ceillier thinks to be his work: but it seems doubtful. Paterius, a notary, 
one of St, Gregory's auditors, compiled, out of his writings and sermons, 
several comments on the Scriptures. Claudius, abbot of Classius, a disciple 
of our saint, did the same. Alulphus, a monk at Tournay, in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, made the like compilations from his writings. Dom 
Dionysius of Saint Marthe, a Maurist Benedictin monk, favoured the world 
with an accurate edition of the works of St. Gregory the Great, published 
at Paris in four volumes folio, in 1706. This has been reprinted at Verona, 
and again at Ausburgh, in 1768, with the addition of the useful anonymous 
book, De Formula Prselatorum* 

VOL. in. 1 



day a beggar being found dead in a corner of a by-street, he is 
said to have abstained some days from the celebration of the 
divine mysteries condemning himself of a neglect in seeking 
the poor with sufficient care. He entertained great numbers of 
strangers both at Rome and in other countries, and had every 
day twelve at his own table whom his sacristan invited. He 
was most liberal in redeeming captives taken by the Lombards, 
for which he permitted the bishop of Fane to break and sell the 
sacred vessels,(l) and ordered the bishop of Messana to do the 
same. (2) He extended his charity to the heretics, whom he 
sought to gain by mildness. He wrote to the bishop of Naples 
to receive and reconcile readily those who desired it, taking upon 
his own soul the danger,* lest he should be charged with their 
perdition if they should perish by too great severity. Yet he was 
careful not to give them an occasion of triumphing by any 
unreasonable condescension ; and much more not to relax the 
severity of the law of God in the least tittle. (3) He showed 
great moderation to the schismatics of Istria, and to the very 
Jews. When Peter, bishop of Terracina, had taken from the 
latter their synagogue, St. Gregory ordered it to be restored to 
them, saying, they are not to be compelled, but converted by 
meekness and charity. (4) He repeated the same orders for the 
Jews of Sardinia, and for those of Sicily.(5) In his letters to 
his vicar in Sicily, and to the stewards of the patrimony of the 
Roman church in Africa, Italy, and other places, he recommends 
mildness and liberality towards his vassals and farmers ; orders 
money to be advanced to those who were in distress, which they 
might repay by little and little, and most rigorously forbids 
any to be oppressed. He carefully computed and piously 
distributed the income of his revenues at four terms in the year. 
In his epistles, we find him continually providing for the 
necessities of all churches, especially of those in Italy, which 
the wars of the Lombards and other calamities had made 
desolate. Notwithstanding his meekness and condescension, 
his courage was undaunted, and his confidence in the divine 
assistance unshaken amidst the greatest difficulties. ''You 

(1) L. 6. Ep. 36. (2) L. 7. Ep. 26. 

(3) L. 1. Ep. 35, &c. (4) L. 1. Ep. 35. 

(5) L. 7. Ep 6. 1. 12. Ep. 30. 

• Animae nostra pericula, 1. 1. Ep, 14. 

March 12.] st. grkgory the great, p. c. 119 

know me/' says he,(l) *'and that I tolerate a long while, but 
when 1 have once determined to bear no longer, I go with joy 
agaimst all dangers." Out of sincere humility he styled himself 
^*the basest of men, devoured by sloth and laziness."(2) Writ- 
ing to St. Leander, he says, (3) he always desired to be the 
contempt of men and the outcast of the people. He declares(4) 
" 1 am ready to be corrected by all persons, and hinr. only do I 
look upon as my friend by whose tongue I learn to wash away 
the stains of my mind." He subscribed himself in all his letters, 
Servant of the servants of God, which custom has been retained 
by his successors. Indeed what is a pastor or superior but the 
servant of those for whom he is to give a rigorous account to 
God? The works of St. Gregory were every where received 
with the greatest applause. Marinianus, archbishop of Ravenna, 
read his comments on Job to the people in the church. The saint 
was afflicted and confounded that his writings should be thought 
to deserve a place among the approved works of the fathers; 
and wrote to that prelate that his book was not proper for the 
church, admonishing him rather to read St. Austin on the 
psalms. (5) He was no less dead to himself in his great actions, 
and all other things. He saw nothing in himself but imper- 
fections, and subjects of confusion and humiliation. 

It is incredible how much he wrote, and, during the thirteen 
years that he governed the church, what great things he achieved 
for the glory of God, the good of the church, the reformation 
of manners the edification of the faithful, the relief of the 
poor, the comfort of the afflicted, the establishment of ecclesi- 
astical discipline, and the advancement of piety and religion. 
But our surprise redoubles upon us, when we remember his 
continual bad state of health and frequent sicknesses, and 
his assiduity in prayer and holy contemplation; though this 
exercise it was that gave always wings to his soul. In his own 
palace he would allow of no furniture but what was mean and 
simple, nor have any attendants near his person but clergy- 
men or monks of approved virtue, learning, and prudence. 
His household was a model of christian perfection ; and by his 
care, arts, sciences, and the heroic practice of piety, flourished, 
especially in the city of Rome. The state of Christendom was 

(1) L. 4. Ep. 47. (2) Prffif. in Bjal. 

(3) L. 9. Ep. 221. (4) L. 2. Ep. 121. 

(6) L. 12. Ep. 24. 


at that time on every side miserably distracted, and stood in 
need of a pastor, whose extraordinary sanctity, abilities, and 
courage should render him equal to every great enterprise. 
And such a one was Gregory. The eastern churches were 
wretchedly divided and shattered by the Nestorians, and the 
Dwmerous spawn of the Eutyphians, all which he repressed. 
In the west, England was buried in idolatry, and Spain, under 
the Visigoths, was overrun with the Arian heresy. These 
two flourishing countries owe their conversion, in a great 
measure, to his zeal, especially the former. In Africa he extir- 
pated the Donatists, converted many schismatics in Istria and 
the neighbouring provinces ; and reformed manj grievous 
abuses in Gaul, whence he banished simony, which had almost 
universally infected that church. A great part of Italy was 
become a prey to the Lombards,* who were partly Arian s, 
partly idolaters. St. Gregory often stopped the fury of their 
arms, and checked their oppressions of the people : by his zeal 
he also brought over many to the Catholic faith, and had the 
comfort to see Agilulph, their king, renounce the Arian heresy 
to embrace it. In 692, Romanti^^ exarch, or governor of Italy 
for the emperor, with a view t<> his own private interest, per- 
tidiously broke the solemn treaty which he had made with the 
Lombards,(l) and took Perugia and several other towns. But 
the barbarians, who were much the stronger, revenged this 
insult with great cruelty, and besieged Rome itself Saint 
Gregory neglected nothing to protect the oppressed, and raised 
troops for the defence of several places. At length, by entrea- 

(1) Paul. Diac. de Gest. l^ngobard. 1. 4. c. 8. S. Greg. 1. 2. Ep. 46. 

• The Lombards came originally from Scandinavia, and settled first in 
Pomerania, and afterwards with the Hunns in Pannonia, who had remained 
there when they returned out *>£ Italy under Attila. N arses, the patrician, 
after having governed Italy sixteen years with great glory, was recalled by 
»^he emperor Justin the Younger. But, resenting this treatment, he invited 
the Lombards into that country. Those barbarians leaving Pannonia 
to the Hunns^ entered Italy, easily made themselves masters of. Milan, 
Dnder their king Alboinus, in 568; and extending their dominions, often 
threatened Rome itself. In the reign of Charles the Fat, the Hunns were 
expelled Pannonia by the Hongres, another swarm from uie same northern 
hive, akin to the Hunns, who gave to that kingdom the name of Hungary. 
l*hat the Lombards were so called, not from their long swords, as some have 
pretended, but from their long beards, see demonstrated from the express 
testimony of Paul the deacon, himself a Lombard, of Constantine Pdrpbyro. 
geuetta, by Jos. Assemani, Hist. Ital. scriptor. t. I.e. 3. p. 33. 


ties and great presents, he engaged the Lombards to retire into 
their own territories. He reproved the exarch for bis breach 
of faith, but to no other effect than to draw upon himself tht? 
indignation of the governor and his master. Such ^Tre the 
extortions and injustices of this and other imperial officers, 
that the yoke of the barbarians was lighter than the specious 
shadow of liberty under the tyranny of the empire : and with 
such rigour were the heaviest taxes levied, that to pay them, 
many poor inhabitants of Corsica were forced to sell tbeir own 
children to the barbarians. These oppressions cried to heaven 
for vengeance: and St. Gregory wrote boldly to the emprens 
Constantina,(l) entreating that the emperor, though he should 
be a loser by it, would not fill his exchequer by oppressiug his 
people, nor suffer taxes to be levied by iniquitous methods 
which would be an impediment to his eternal salvation* He 
sent to this empress a brandeura, or veil, which had touched tiie 
bodies of the apostles, and assured her that miracles had been 
wrought by such relics."(2) He promised to send her aUo Boiue 
dust -filings of the chains of St. Paul ; of which relics he makes 
frequent mention in his epistles. At Cagliari, a certain rich 
Jew, having been converted to the faith, had seized the synagogue 
in order to convert it into a church, and had set up in it an 
image of the Virgin Mary and a cross. Upon the complaint 
of the other Jews, St. Gregory ordered(3) the synagogue to be 
restored to them, but that the image and cross should be first 
removed with due veneration and respect.* Writing to Theo- 
delinda, queen of the Lombards, he mentions,(4) that he sent 
her son, the young king, a little cross, in which was a particle 
of the wood of the true Cross, to carry about his neck. Bee^n- 
dinus, a holy hermit near Ravenna, god-father to this young 
king, begged of the pope some devout pictures. St. Gregory, 
in his answer, says : " We have sent you two cloths, containing 
the picture of God our Saviour, and of Mary the holy Mother 
of God, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and one 
cross: also for a benediction, a key which had been applied to 
the most holy body of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, that, 

(1) L. 6. Ep. 41. (2) L. 4. Ep. 30. 

(3) L. 9. Ep. 6. p. 930. (4) L. 14. Ep. 12. p. 1270- 

• Sjblata exinde, quk par est veneralione, imagine et cruce. L. 9» En &t 
p. 930. * 


you may remain defended from the enemy."* But when 
Serenu8, hishop of Marseilles, had hroken certain sacred 
images which some persons, lately converted from idolatry, 
honoured with their former idolatrous superstitions, St. Gregory 
commended his zeal for suppressing this abuse, hut reproved 
him for breaking the images. (1) When the archbishop of 
Ravenna used the pallium, not only at mass, but also in other 
functions, St. Gregory wrote him a severe reprimand, telling 
him that no ornamont shines so bright on the shoulders of a 
bishop, as humility. (2)t He extended his pastoral zeal and 
solicitude over all churches; and he frequently takes notice 
that the care of the churches of the whole world was entrusted 
to St. Peter, and his successors in the see of Rome.(3) This 
authority he exerted in the oriental patriarchates. A certain 
monk having been accused of Manieheism, and beaten by the 
order of John the patriarch of Constantinople, appealed to 
Pope Gregory, who sharply reprimanded the patriarch, ex- 
horting him to eject a certain wicked young man by whom he 
suffered himself to be governed, and to do penance, and telling 
him : " If you do not keep the canons, I know not who you 
are/'(4) He absolved the monk, with his colleague, a priest, 
re-established them in their monastery, and sent them back 
into the East, having received their profession of faith. He 
also absolved John, a priest of Chalcedon, who had been 
unjustly condemned by the delegates of the patriarch This 
patriarch, John, sur named the Faster, usurped the arrogant 

(1) L. 11. Ep. 13. 

(2> L. 3. Ep. 66. 1. 3. Ep. 53, 1. 9. Ep. 69. 1. 6. Ep. 66. 1. 7. Ep. 19. 
I. 5. Ep. 20. 

(3) L 3. Ep. 39. 1. 5. Ep. 13. (4) L. 6. Ep. 16, 16, 17. 

• These words are quoted by Paul the deacon, in the council of Home, 
Cone. t. 6. p. 1462, and Pope Adrian I., in his letter to Charlemagne in 
defence of holy images. 

f St, Gregory was always a zealous asseiter of the celibacy of the clergy, 
which law he extended also to subdeacons, who had before been ranked 

nev«i invented, as is demonstrated from many inconsistencies of that forged 
letter : and St. Gregory in his epistles everywhere mentions the law of the 
celibacy of the clergy as ancient and inviolable. Nor was any Pope Nicholas 
contemporary with St. Udalricus. See Barorius a:.d Dom de Sainte Marthe, 
in bis life oi St. Gregory. 


March 12.] st. Gregory the great, p. c. 123 

title of oecumenical, or universal patriarch. This epithet was 
only used of a general council which represents the whole 
church. In this sense an oecumenical bishop should mean 
a bishop who represents the whole church, so that all other 
bishops are only bis vicars. St. Gregory took the word in that 
sense : which would be blasphemy and heresy, and as such 
he condemned it.(l) John indeed only meant it in a limited 
sense for an archbishop over many, as we call him a general 
who commands many ; but even so it savoured of arrogance 
and novelty. In opposition to this, St. Gregory took no other 
titles than those of humility. Gregoria, a lady of the bed- 
chamber, to the empress, being troubled with scruples, wrote 
to St. Gregory, that she should never be at ease till he should 
obtain of God, by a revelation, an assurance that her sins were 
forgiven her. To calm her disturbed mind, he sent her the 
following answer. (2) " You ask what is both difficult and 
unprofitable. — Difficult, because I am unworthy to receive any 
revelation : unprofitable, because an absolute assurance of your 
pardon does not suit your state till you can no longer weep for 
your sins. You ought always to fear and tremble for them, and 
wash them away by daily tears. Paul had been taken up to 
the third heaven, yet trembled lest he should become a repro- 
bate. — Security is the mother of negligence." 

The emperor forbade any to be admitted in monasteries, 
who, having been in office, had not yet given up their 
accounts, or who were engaged in the military service. This 
order he sent to each of the patriarchs, to be by them notified to 
all the bishops of their respective districts. St. Gregory, 
who was at that time sick, complied with the imperial man- 
date, so far as to order the edict to be signified to the western 
bishops,* as appears fi-om a letter which he wrote to the 

(1) L. 11. Ep. 28. olim. 68. p. 1180, &c. (2) L. 7. Ep. 25. 

• Some Protestants slander St. Gregory, as if by this publication of the 
imperial edict he had concurred to what he condemned as contrary to the 
divine law. Dr. Mercier, in his letter in favour of a law commanding silence, 
with regard to the constitution Unigenitus in France, in 1759, pretends that 
this holy pope thought obedience to the emperor a duty even in thinss of a 
like nature. But Dr. Launay, Reponse a la Lettre d*un Docteur de Sor- 
boiine, partie 2. p. 51. and Dr. N. Examen de la Lettre d'un Docteur de 
Sorbonoe sur la necessity degarder le silence sur la Constitution Unigenitus, 
p. HS* t, 1. demonstrate that St. Gregory regarded the matter, as it realiy 


emperor as soon as his health was re-established. We learn from 
another letter, which he wrote some years after to the bishops 
of the empire, that, on this occasion, he exhorted the bishops 
to comply with the iirst part, and as to the second, not to 
suffer persons engaged in the army to be admitted among the 
clergy or to the monastic habit, unless their vocation had been 
thoroughly tried for the space of three years, that it might be 
evident they were converted from the world, and sought not to 
change one kind of secular life for another. He made to Mau- 
ritius, the strongest remonstrances against this edict, saying, 
"It is not agreeable to God, seeing by it the way to heaven 
was shut to several ; for many cannot be saved unless they 
forsake all things." He, therefore, entreated the emperor to 
mitigate this law, approving the first article as most just, 
unless the monastery made itself answerable for the debts of 
such a person received in it. As to the second, he allows that 
the motives and sincerity of the conversion of such soldiers 
are to be narrowly examined before they ought to be admitted 
to the monastic habit. Mauritius, who had before conceived 
certain prejudices against St Gregory, was offended at his 
remonstrances, and showed his resentment against him for some 
years, but at length agreed to the mitigations of each article 
proposed to St. Gregory : which the holy pope, with great plea- 
sure, notified by a letter addressed to the bishops of the 

The emperor Mauritius, having broken his league with the 
Avari, a Scythian nation, then settled on the banks of the 
Danube, (2) was defeated, and obliged to purchase an ignomi- 
nious peace. He also refused to ransom the prisoners they had 
taken, though they asked at first only a golden penny a head, 
and at last only a sixth part, or four farthings ; which refusal 
80 enraged the barbarians, that they put them all to the sword 
Mauritius began then to be stung with remorse, gave large alms, 
and prayed that God would rather punish him in this life thar 

(1) Ep. 56. (2) Theophanes Chronogr. 

ii, merely as a point of discipline, and no where says the edict was oontrary 
to the divine law, but only not agreeable to God, and tending to prejudice 
the interest of his greater glory. In matters of faith or essential obligation^ 
he oalls forth the zeal and fortitude of prelates to stand upon their guard in 
opposing unjust laws, even to martyrdom, as the same authors depioDAtrata 

March 12.] st. Gregory the great, p. c. 125 

in the next. His prayer was heard. His avarice and extortions 
had rendered him odious to all his subjects; and, in 602, he 
ordered the army to take winter quarters in the enemy's coun- 
try, and to subsist on freebooting, without pay. The soldiers 
exasperated at this treatment, chose one Phocas, a daring ambi' 
tious man, to be their leader, and marched to Constantinople, 
where he was crowned emperor. Mauritius had made his 
escape, but was taken with his family thirty miles out of the 
city, and brought back. His five sons were slain before his 
eyes at Chalcedon : he repeated all the while as a true penitent 
these words : ** Thou art just, Lord, and thy judgments are 
righteous."(l) When the nurse offered her own child instead 
of his youngest, he would not suffer it. Last of all he himself 
was massacred after a reign of twenty years. His empress, 
Constantia, was confined with her three daughters, and mur- 
dered with them a few months after. The tyrant was slain 
by Heraclius, governor of Africa, after a tottering reign of 
eight years. When Phocas mounted the throne, his images 
were received and set up at Bome : nor could St. Gregory for 
the sake of the public good, omit writing to him letters of con- 
gratulation. (2) In them he makes some compliments to Pho- 
cas, which are not so much praises as respectful exhortations 
to a tyrant in power, and wishes of the public liberty, peace, 
and happiness.* The saint no where approved his injustices 
or tyranny, though he regarded him, like Jehu, as the instru- 
ment of God to punish other sinners. He blamed Mauritius, 
but in things truly blameable ; and drew from his punishment a 
seasonal le occasion of wholesome advice which he gave to Pho- 
cas, whom the public safety of all Italy obliged him not to 

This holy pope had laboured many years under a great 
weakness of "his breast and stomach, and was afflicted with 

(1) Ps. 118. (2) L. 13. Ep. 31. 38. 

• We say the same of the compliments which he paid to the impious 
French qneen Brunehalt, at which Lord Bolingbroke takes offence ; but a 
respect is due to persons in power. St. Gregory no where flatters their vices, 
but admonishes by compliments those who could not be approached without 
tl«em. Thus did St. Paul address Agrippa and Festus, &c. In refusing the 
sacraments of the church to impenitent wicked princes, and in checking their 
crimes by seasonable remonstrances, St. Gregory was always ready to exert 
the zeal of a Baptist : as he opposed the unjust projects of Mauritius, bo 
would he have doi.e those of Phocas when in his power. 

126 ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, P. C. [MarCH 12. 

slow fevers, and frequent fits of the gout, which once confined 
him to his bed two whole years. On the 25th of January, 604, 
he gave to the church of St. Paul several parcels of land to 
furnish it with lights: the act of donation remains to this day 
engraved on a marble stone in the same church. God called 
him to himself on the 12th of March, the same year, about the 
sixty-fourth of his age, after he had governed the church 
thirteen years, six months, and ten days. His pallium, the 
reliquary which he wore about his neck, and his girdle were 
preserved long after his death, when John the deacon wrote, who 
describes his picture drawn from the life, then to be seen in 
the monastery of St. Andrew.* His holy remains rest in the 
Vatican church. Both the Greeks and Latins honour his 
name. The council of Clif, or Cloveshove, under archbishop 
Cuthbert, in 747, commanded his feast to be observed a holi- 
day in all the monasteries in England ; which the council of 
Oxford, in 1222, extended to the whole kingdom. This law sub- 
sisted till the change of religion.t 

Every superior, who is endued with the sincere spirit of 
humility and charity, looks npon himself with this great hope, 
as the servant of all, bound to labour and watch night and 
day, to bear every kind of affront, to suffer all manner of pains, 
to do all in his power, to put on every shape, and sacrifice 
his own ease and life to procure the spiritual improvement of 
the least of those who are committed to his charge. He is 
incapable of imperious haughtiness, which alienates the minds 
of inferiors, and renders their obedience barely exterior and a 
forced hypocrisy. His commands are tender entreaties, and if 
he be obliged to exert his authority, this he does with secret 
repugnance, losing sight of himself, intent alone on God's 

• The antiquarian will read with pleasure the curious flotes of Angelus 
Bocca, and the Benedictins on the pictures of St. Gregory and his parents, 
and on this holy pope's pious donations. 

+ St. Gregory gave St. Austin a small lihrary which was kept in his 
monastery at Canterbury. Of it there still remains a book of the gospels in 
the Bodleian library, and another in that of Corpus-Christi in Cambridge. 
The other books were psalters, the Pastorale, the Passionarium Sanctorum, 
and the like. See Mr. Wanley, in his catalogue of Saxon manuscripts, at 
the end of Dr. Hickes's Thesaurus, p. 172. Many rich vestments, vessels, 
relics, and a pall given by St. Gregory to St. Austin, were kept in the same 
monastery* Their original inventory, drawn up by Thomas of Elmham, in 
the reign of Henry V., is preserved in the Harleian library, and published 
by the learned lady, Mrs E. Elstob, at the end of a Saxon panygcric on 
St. Gregory. 

March 12.] st. gregobt the great, p. c. 12T 

honour and his neighbour's salvation, placing himself, in epirit, 
beneath all his subjects, and all mankind, and esteeming^ bim- 
self the ast of all creatures. St. Paul, though vested with the 
most sublime authority, makes use of terms so mild and so 
powerfully ravishing, that they must melt the hardest heart. 
Instead of commanding in the name of God, see how he usually 
expresses himself: "I entreat you, Timothy, by the love 
which you bear me. I conjure you, by the bowels of Jesus 
Christ. I beseech you, by the meekness of Christ. If you 
love me, do this." And see how he directs us to reprove those 
who sin : " If any one should fall, do you who are spiritual 
remind him in the spirit of meekness, remembering that you 
may also fall," and into a more grievous crime. St. Peter, 
who had received the k'^ys of the kingdom of heaven, shed 
more tears of tender charity than he speaks words. W hat 
heart can be so savage and unnatural, as to refuse to obey him 
who, having authority to lay injunctions, and thunder out 
anathemas, weeps instead of commanding ? If SS .Peter and 
Paul pour out the water of tears and mildness, St. John casta 
darts of fire into the hearts of those whom he commands. 
"My little children," says he, "if yon love Christ, do this. I 
conjure you, by Christ, our good Master, love aflfectionately, 
and this is enough. Love will teach you what to do. The 
unction of the Holy Ghost will instruct you." This ia the true 
spirit of governing ; a method sure to gain the hearts of others, 
and to inspire them with a love of the precept itself and of 
virtue.. St. Macarius of Egypt was styled the god of the 
monks, so affectionately and readily was he obeyed by them, 
because he never spoke a word with anger or impatience. 
Moses was chosen by God to be the leader and legislator of 
his people, because he was the meekest of men: and with what 
astonishing patience did he bear the murmers and rebellions of 
an ungrateful and stiff-necked people ! David's meekness 
towards Saul and others purchased him the crown, and was one 
of the principal virtues by which he was rendered a king accor- 
ding to God's own heart. Those who command with imperious 
authority show they are puflFed up with the empty wind of pride, 
which makes them feel an inordinate pleasure in the exercise 
of power, the seed of tyranny, and the bane of virtue in their 
souls. Anger and impatience, which are more dangemiss, 
because usually canonised under the name of zeal, demonstrato 



persons to be very ill qualified for governing others, who are 
not inasters of themselves or their own passions. How few are 
80 crucified to themselves, and so perfectly grounded in humility, 
patience, meekness, and charity, that power and authority infect 
not their souls with the deadly poison of secret pride, or in 
whom no hurry, importunity, or perverseness can extinguish the 
spirit of meekness, in which, in aU occurrences, they preserve 
the same evenness of mind, and the same angelical sweetness of 
countenance ? Yet with this they are sons of thunder in resis- 
ting evil, ai\d in watching against all the artifices of the most 
subtle and flattering passions of sinners, and are firm and 
inflexible in opposing every step towards any dangerous relax- 
ation. St. Gregory, by his whole conduct, sets us an example 
of this perfect humility and meekness, which he requires as an 
essential qualification in every pastor, and in all who are 
placed over others. (1) He no less excelled in learning, with 
which, he says, that humility must be accompanied, lest the 
pastor should lead others astray. But above all other qualities 
for the pastoral charge, he requires an eminent gift of prayer 
and contemplation. Pr« caeteris con tempi atione suspensus 
Pastor. Cura, part 2. c. 6. 




Baronius thinks that his monastery of St. Andrew's followed the rule of 
St. Equitias because its first abbots were drawn out of his province, Valeria. 
On another side, Dom. Mabillon (t. 1. Actor. Sanct. & t. 2. Analect. and 
Annal. Bened. 1. 6.) maintains that it followed the rule of St. Benedict, 
which St. Gregory often commends and prefers to all other rules. His 
colleagues, in their life of St. Gregory, Natalis Alexander, in his Church 
History, and others, have written to support the same opinion : who all, 
with Mabillon, borrow all their ariruments from the learned English 
Benedictin, Clemens B-eynerus, in his Apostolatus Benedictinorum in Anglla. 
Others object that St. Gregory in his epistles ordains many things contrary 
to the rule of St. Benedict, and think he who has written so much concerning 
St. Benedict^ would have mentioned by some epithet the circumstance of 
being his disciple, and would have called the rule of that patriarch h^s 
own. These antiquaries judge it most probable that the monastery of St. 
Andrew bad its own rule prescribed by the first founders, and borrowed 

(1) Gregor. M. in 1. 1. R^. c. 16. v. 3 & 9. 

March 12.] st. Gregory thk great, p. c. 129 

from different places : for this was the ordinary method of most monas- 
teries in the west, till afterwards the rule of St. Benedict was universally 
received for better uniformity and discipline: to which the just commen- 
dations of St. Gregory doubtless contributed. 

F. Clement B-eyner, in the above-mentioned book, printed at Doway, in 
folio, in 1626, displays much erudition in endeavouring to prove that St, 
Austin, and the other monks sent by St. Gregory to convert the English, 
professed the order of St. Benedict. Mabillon borrows his arguments on 
this subject in his preface to the Acts of the Benedictins, against the 
celebrated Sir John Marsham, who in his long preface to the Monasticon, 
Bets himself to show that the first English monks followed rules instituted 
by their own abbots often gleaned out of many. Dr. Hickes confirms this 
assertion against Mabillon with great erudition. (Diss. p. 67, 6S.) which is 
espoused by Dr. Tanner, bishop of St. Asaph's, in his preface to his exact 
Notitia Monastica, by the author of Biographia Britannica, in the life of Bede, 
(t. 1, p. 656.) and by the judicious William Thomas, in his additions to the 
new edition of Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, (t. 1. p. 167.) These 
authors think that the rule of St. Benedict was not generally received by 
the English monks before the regulations of St. Dunstan ; nor perfectly till 
after the Norman conquest. For Pope Constantine, in 709, in the bull 
wherein he establishes the rule of St. Benedict to be followed in the abbey of 
Evesham, says of it: "Which does not prevail in those parts." " Qufe 
minus in illis partibus habetur." In 747, Cuthbert, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, in a synod held in presence of Ethelband, king of the Mercians, at 
Cloveahove, (which town some place in Kent, others more probably in 
Mercia, about Reading,) published Monastic Constitutions, which were 
followed by the English monks till the time of St. Dunstan. In these we 
find no mention of the rule of St. Benedict : nor in Bede. The charter 
of King Ethelbald which mentions the Black Monks, is a manifest forgery. 
Even that name was not known before the institution of the Camal- 
dulenses, in 1020, and the Carthusians, who distinguished themselves by 
white habits. Dom. Mege, in his commentary on the rule of St. Benedict, 
shows that the first Benedictins wore white, not black. John of Glastenbury , 
and others, published by Heame, who call the apostles of the English 
Black Monts, are too modern, unless they produce some ancient vouchers. 
The monastery of Evesham adopted the ruie of St. Benedict, in 709. St. 
Bennet Biscop and St. Wilfrid both improved the monastic order in tlie . 
houses which they founded, from the rule of St. Benedict, at least borrow- 
ing some constitutions from it. The devastations of the Danes scarcely 
left a convent of monks standing in England, except those of Glansten- 
bury and Abingdon, which was their state in the days of King Alfred, 
is Leland observes. St. Dunstan, St. Oswald, and St. Ethelwold, restored 
the monasteries, and propagated exceedingly the monastic state. St. Oswald 
had professed the order of St. Benedict in France, in the monastery of 
Fleury; and, together with the aforesaid two bishops, he est-abUshed ttie 
same in a great measure in England. St. Dunstan published a uniform 
rule for the monasteries of this nation,- entitled, Regularis Concordia 
Anglicffi Nationis, extant in Reyner, and Spelman, (in Spicilegio aA 
admerum, p. 145,) in which he adopts, in a great measure, the rule of 
St. Benedict, joining with it many ancient monastic customs. Even 
after the Norman conquest the synod of London, under Lanfranc, in 
1075, say», the the regulations of monks were drawn from the rule of 
8t. Bennet and the ancient custom of regular places, as Baronius takes 
notice, which seems to imply former distinct institutes. From that time 
down to the dissolution, all ihe cathedral priories, except that of Carlile, 
and most of the rich abbeys in England were held by monks of the 
Benedictin order. See Dr. Brown Willis, in his separate historieo of 
Cathedral Priories, Mitred Abbeys, &c. 

130 ST. PAUL, B. c. [Maech 12. 


He was the son of Victor, a Christian soldier in Numidia. 
According to the law which obliged the sons of soldiers to serve 
in the army at the age of twenty-one years, his measure was 
taken, that he might be enrolled in the troops, and he was 
foEnd to be of due stature, being five Roman feet and ten 
inches high,* that is, about five feet and a half of our measure. 
But Maximilian refused to receive the mark, which was a print 
on the band, and a leaden collar about the neck, on which 
were engraved the name and motto of the emperor. His plea 
was, that in the Roman army superstitions, contrary to the 
Christian faith, were often practised, with which he could not 
defile his soul. Being eondemned by the proconsul to lose his 
head, he met death with joy in the year 296. See his acts in 


He was a noble Briton, a native of CornwaU, cousin of St. 
Samson, and his fellow-disciple under St. Iltutus. We need no 
other proof of his wonderful fervour and progress in virtue, and 
all the exercises of a monastic life, than the testimony of Saint 
Iltutus, by whose abvice St. Paul left the monastery to embrace 
a more perfect eremitical life in a retired place in the same 
'•^sntry. Some time after, our saint sailing irom Cornwall, 
passed into Armorica, and continued the same austere eremi- 
tical life in a small island on the coast of the Osismians, a barba- 
jous idolatrous people in Armorica, or Little Britain. Prayer and 
contemplation were his whole employment, and bread and water 
his only food, except on great festivals, on which he took with his 
j)read a few little fish. The saint, commiserating the blindness of 
the pagan inhabitants on the coast, passed over to the continent, 
and instructed them in the faith. Withur, count or governor of 
Bas, and all that coast, seconded by king Childebert, procured his 
ordination to the episcopal dignity, notwithstanding his tears to 
prevent it. Count Withur, who resided in the Isle of Bas, 
bestowed his own house on the saint to be converted into a 
monastery ; and St. Paul placed in it certain fervent monks, who 

* See Tr. snr la Milice Komaine, t. 1. 

March 13.] st. kic£i*uorus^ p. c. 131 

haa accompanied him from Wales and Cornwall. He was 
himself entirely taken up in his pastoral functions, and his 
diligence in acquitting himself of every hranch of his ohligations 
was equal to his apprehension of their weight. When he had com- 
pleted the conversion of that country, he resigned his bishopric 
to a disciple, and retired into the isle of Has, where he died 
in holy solitude, on the 12th of March, about the year 573, near 
one hundred years old.* During the inroads of the Normans, 
his relics were removed to the abbey of Fleury, or St. Bennet's 
on the Loire, but were lost when the Calvinists plundered that 
church. Leon, the ancient city of the Osismians, in which he 
fixed his see, takes his name. His festival occurs in the ancient 
Breviary of Leon, on the 10th of October, perhaps the day of 
the translation of his relics. For in the ancient Breviary of 
Nantes, and most others, he is honoured on the 12th of March. 
See Le Cointe's Annals, the Bollandists on this day, and 
Lobineau in the Lives of the Saints of Brittany, from his acts 
compiled by a monk of Fleury, about the close of the tenth 



From his life hy Ignatius, deacon of Constantinople, afterwards bishop of 
Nice, a contemporary author ; and from the relation of his banishment by 
Theophanes. See Fleury, 1. 46, 46, 47. Ceillier, t. 18. p. 467. 

A.D. 828. 

Theodorus, the father of our saint, was secretary to the 
emperor Constantino Copronymus. but when that tyrant de- 
clared himself a persecutor of the Catholic church, the faithful 
minister remembering that we are bound to obey God rather 
than man, maintained the honour due to holy images with so 

• St. Paul was ordained priest before he left Great Britain, about the 
year 630. The little island on the coast of Armorica, where he chose his 
first abode in France, was called Medonia, and seems to be the present 
Molene, situated between the Isle of Ushant and the coast. The first 
orntory which he built on the Continent, very near this island, seems w be 
the church called from him Lan-Pol. 

132 ST. NICEPHORUS, P. c. [March 13. 

much zeaJ, that he was stripped of his honours, scourged, 
tortured, and banished. The young Nicephorus was from his 
cradle -animated to the practice of virtue by the domestic 
example of his father : and in his education, as his desires of 
improvement were great and the instructions he had very good, 
the progress he made was as considerable ; till, by the matu- 
rity of his age, and of his study, he made his appearance in 
the world. When Constantine and Irene were placed on the 
imperial throne, and restored the Catholic faith, our saint was 
quickly introduced to their notice, and by his merits attained a 
large share in their favour. He was by them advanced to his 
father's dignity, and, by the lustre of his sanctity, was the 
ornament of the court, and the support of the state. He 
distinguished himself by his zeal against the Iconoclasts, 9,nd 
was secretary to the second council of Nice. After the death of 
St. Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople, in 806, no one was 
found more worthy to succeed him than Nicephorus. To give 
an authentic testimony of his faith, during the time of his coase- 
cration he held in his hand a treatise which he had written m 
defence of holy images, and after the ceremony laid it up behind 
the altar, as a pledge that he would always maintain the tradi- 
tion of the church. As soon as he was seated in the patriarchal 
chair, he began to consider how a total reformation of manners 
might be wrought, and his precepts from the pulpit received a 
double force from the example he set to others in an humble 
comportment, and steady uniform practice of eminent piety.* 
He applied himself with unwearied diligence to all the duties of 
the ministry ; and, by his zealous labours and invincible meek- 
ness and patience, kept virtue in countenance, and stemmed the 
tide of iniquity. But these glorious successes rendered him not 
so conspicuous as the constancy with which he despised the 
frowns of tyrants, and suffered persecution for the sake of justice. 
The government having changed hands, the patrician Leo the 
Armenian, governor of Natolia, became emperor in 813, and 
being himself an Iconoclast, endeavoured both by artifices and 
open violence to establish that heresy. He studied in the first 

• The Confession of Faith, which, upon his promotion, he sent to Pope 
Leo III., is published by Baronias, ad an. 811, and in the seventh tome of 
Labbe's Councils, &c. In it the saint gives a clear exposition of the prin- 
cipal mysteries of faith, of the invocation of saints, ana the veneration due 
to relics and holy images. 

MaKCH 13.] ST. NICEPHORUS, P. c. 188 

place, by crafty suggestions, to gain over the holy patriarch to 
favour his design. But St. Nicephorus answered him : ^* "We 
cannot change the ancient traditions : we respect holy images as 
we do the cross and the book of the gospels." For it must be 
observed that the ancient Iconoclasts venerated the book of the 
gospels, and the figure of the cross, though by an inconsistency 
usual in error, they condemned the like relative honour with 
regard to holy images. The saint showed, that far from derogat- 
ing from the supreme honour of God, we honour him when for 
his sake we pay a subordinate respect to his angels, saints, 
prophets, and ministers : also when we give a relative inferior 
honour to inanimate things which belong to his service, as sacred 
vessels, churches, and images. But the t3rrant was fixed in his 
errors, which he at first endeavoured to propagate by stratagems. 
He therefore privately encouraged soldiers to treat contemptu- 
ously an image of Christ which was on a great cross at the brazen 
gate of the city ; and thence took occasion to order the image to 
be taken off the cross, pretending he did it to prevent a second 
profanation. St. Nicephorus saw the storm gathering, and spent 
most of his time in prayer with several holy bishops and abbots^ 
Shortly after,*the emperor, having assembled together certaia 
Iconoclast bishops in his palace, sent for the patriarch and his 
fellow-bishops. They obeyed the summons, but entreated his 
majesty to leave the government of the church to its pastors. 
Emilian, bishop of Cyzicus, one of their body, said : '* If this 
be an ecclesiastical affair, let it be discussed in the church, 
according to custom, not in the palace." Euthymius, bishop of 
Sardes, said : " For these eight hundred years past, since the 
coming of Christ, there have been always pictures of him, and he 
has been honoured in them. Who shall now have the boldness to 
abolish so ancient a tradition?" St. Theodorus, the Studite, 
spoke after the bishops, and said to the emperor : '* My Lord do 
not disturb the order of the church. God hath placed in it apos- 
tles, prophets, pastors, and t€achers.(l) You he hath entrusted 
with the care of the state ; out leave the church to its pastors." 
The emperor, in a rage, drove them from his presence. Some 
time after, the Iconoclast bishops held a pretended council in the- 
imperial palace, and cited the patriarch to appear before them. 
To their summons he returned this answer ; " Who gave you 

(1) Epli. iv. 11. 

184 ST. NicJEPHOKusr, p. c. [March ISl 

this authority P was it the pope^ or any of the patriarchs P Iq 
my diocess you have no jurisdictioD." He then read the canon 
which doclares those excommunicated who presume to exercise 
any act of jurisdiction in the diocess of another bishop. They^ 
however, proceeded to pronounce against him a mock sentence 
of deposition; and the holy pastor, after several attempts made 
secretly to take away his fife, was sent by the emperor into 
banishment. Michael the Stutterer, who in 820 succeeded Leo 
in the imperial throne, was engaged in the same heresy, and wa» 
also a persecutor of our saint, who died in his exile, on the 2nd 
of June, in the monastery of St. Theodorus, which he had 
built in the year 828, the fourteenth of his banishment, being 
about seventy years old. By the order of the empress Theodora^ 
his body was brought to Constantinople with great pomp, in 
846, on the 13th of March, on which day he is commemorated 
ID the Roman Martyrology.* 

• St. Nicephorus has left us a chronicle from the beginning of the world : 
of which the best editions are that of F. Goar, with the chronicle of George 
Syncellus at Paris, in 1662, and that of Venice among the Byzantine hia- 
torians, in 1729. Also a short history from the reign of Mauritius to that 
of Constantine and Irene, published at Paris, in 1616, by F. Petau ; and 
reprinted among the Byzantine historians, at Paris, in 1%19, and again at 
Venice, in 1729. The style is justly commended by Photius. (cod. 66.) The 
seventeen canons of St. Nicephorus are extant in the collection of the coun- 
cilH, t. 7. p. 1297, &c. In the second he declares it unlawful to travel on 
Sundays without necessity. Cotelier has published four others of this saint, 
with five of the foregoing, and his letter to Hilarion and Eustrasius, con- 
taining learned resolutions of several cases. (Monum. Graec. t. 3. p. 461.) 
St. Nicephorus wrote several learned tracts against the Iconoclasts, as three 
Antirrhetics or Confutations, &c. Some of these are printed in the Library 
of the Fathers, and F. Combefis's Supplement or Auctuarium, t. 1. in 
Canisius's Lectiones Antiquae, republished by Basnage, part 2, &c. But a 
great number are only found in MSS. in the libraries of England, Paris, and 
Kome. The saint often urges that the Iconoclasts condemned themselves by 
allowing veneration to the cross ; for the image of Christ upon the cross is 
more than the bare cross. In the second Ant^rrhetic he most evidently 
establishes the real presence of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist ; which 
passage is quoted by Leo AUatius. (1. 3. de Consens. Ecclesiae Occident, et 
Grient. c. 15. p. 1223.) He does the same almost in the same words, 1. de 
Cherubinis a Moyse Factis, c. 7. apud Canis. t 2. ed. Basm. part 2. p. 13. 
& t. 9. Bibl. Patr. Three Antirrhetics are entitled, Against Mamonas (i. e, 
Constantine Copronymus) and the Iconoclasts. A fourth was written by 
him against Eusebius and Epiphanides, to prove that Eusebius of Cssarea 
was an obstinate Arian, and Epiphanides a favourer of Manicheism, and a 
very different person from St. Epiphanius of Salamine. F. Anselm Banduri, 
a Benedictin monk of Kagusa, undertook at Paris a comi>lete edition of the 
workp of St. Nicephorus, in two volumes in folio ; but his death prevented 
the publication. His learned Prospectus, dated in the monastery of Saint 
Germain-des-Prez, in 1706, is inserted by Fabricius in Biblioth. Gr. t. 6. 
p. 640. and in part by Oudin, de Scrip, t. 2, p. 1,3. 

March 13.j sr. Euphrasia, v. 135 

It is by a wonderful effect of his most gracious mercy and 
singular love that God is pleased to visit all his faithful servants 
with severe trials, and to purify their virtue in the crucible, that 
by being exercised it may be made heroic and perfect. By 
suffering with patience, and in a Christian spirit, a soul makes 
higher and quicker advances in pure love, than by any other 
means or by any other good works. Let no persons then repine, i 
by sickness, persecution, or disgraces, they are hindered from 
doing the good actions which they desire, or rendered incapable 
of discharging the duties of their station, or of labouring to 
convert others. God always knows what is best for us and 
others : we may safely commend to him his own cause, and all 
souls which are dearer to him than they can be to us. By this 
earnest prayer and perfect sacrifice of ourselves to God, we shall 
more effectually draw upon them the divine mercy than by any 
endeavours of our own. Let us leave to God the choice of his 
instruments and means in the salvation of others. As to our- 
selves, it is our duty to give him what he requires of us : nor 
can we glorify him by any sacrifice either greater or more 
honourable, and more agreeable to him than that of a heart 
under the h^viest pressure, ever submissive to him, embracing 
with love and joy every order of his wisdom, and placing its 
entire happiness and comfort in the accomplishment of his ado- 
rable most holy will. The great care of a Christian in this 
state, in order to sanctify his sufferings, must be to be constantly 
united to God, and to employ his affections in the most fervent 
interior exercises of entire sacrifice and resignation, of confidence, 
love, praise, adoration, penance, and compunction, which he 
excites by suitable aspirations. 


Antigonus, the father of this saint, was a nobleman of the first 
rank and quality in the court of Theodosius the younger, nearly 
allied in blood to that emperor, and honoured by him with 
several great employments in the state. He was married to 
Euphrasia, a lady no less illustrious for her birth than virtue, by 
whom he had only one daughter and heiress, called also Euphra- 
sia, the saint of whom we treat. After her birth, her pious 
parents, by mutual consent, engaged themselves by vow to pass 
the remainder of their lives in perpetual continency, that they 

13ff ST. KUPHEisu, ▼. [March 13. 

might more perfectly aspire to the invisible joys of the life to 
come ; and from that time they lived together as brother and 
sister, in the exercises of devotion, alms-deeds, and penance. 
Antigonns died within a year, and the holy widow, to shun the 
importunate addresses of yonng suitors for marriage., and the 
distraction of friends, not long after withdrew privately, with 
her little daughter, into Egypt, where she was possessed of a 
very large estate. In that country she fixed her abode near a 
holy monastery of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never used 
any other food than herbs and pulse, which they took only after 
sun-set, and some only once in two or three days ; they wore 
and slept on sackcloth, wrought with their hands, and prayed 
almost without interruption. When sick, they bore their paina 
with patience, esteeming them an effect of the divine mercy, and 
thanking God for the same : nor did they seek relief from 
physicians, except in cases of absolute necessity, and then only 
allowed of ordinary general remedies, as the monks of La 
Trappe, do at this day. Delicate and excessive attention to 
health nourishes self-love and immortification,* and often dcstroja 
that health which it studied anxiously to preserve. By the 
example of these holy virgins, the devout mother animated 
herself to fervour in the exercises of religion and charity, to 
which she totally dedicated herself. She frequently visited these 
servants of God, and earnestly entreated them to accept a 
considerable annual revenue, with an obligation that they should 
always be bound to pray for the soul of her deceased husband. 
But the abbess refused the estate, saying : *' We have renounced 
all the conveniences of the world, in order to purchase heaven. 
We are poor, and such we desire to remain." She could only 
be prevailed upon to accept a small matter to supply the church- 
lamp with oil, and for incense to be burned on the altar. 

The young Euphrasia, at seven years of age, made it her 
earnest request to her mother, that she might be permitted to 
serve God in this monastery. The pious mother, on hearing 
this, wept for joy, and not long after presented her to the 
abbess, who, taking up an image of Christ, gave it into liei 
hands. The tender virgin kissed it, saying : " By vow I 

* It is severely condemned by St. Bernard, £p. 346. ol. 321. p. 316, and 
Serm. 60. in Cant. St. Ambrose. Serm. 22. in Ps. 118. and hr Abbot Bance^ 
ttc reformer of La Trappe. 

March 13.] st. Euphrasia, v. 137 

consecrate myself to Christ." Then the mother led her before 
an image of our Redeemer, and lifting up her hands to heaven, 
said : " Lord Jesus Christ, receive this child under your special 
protection. You alone doth she 2ove and seek : to you doth she 
recommend herself."* Then turning to her dear daughter, she 
said : ** May God, who laid the foundations of the mountains, 
strengthen you always in his holy fear." And leaving her in 
the hands of the abhess, she went out of the monastery weeping. 
Some time after this she fell sick, and being forewarned of her 
death, gave her last instructions to her daughter in these words. 
*' Fear God, honour your sisters, and serve them with humility* 
Never think of what you have been, nor say to yourself that 
you are of roj^al extraction. Be humble and poor on earth, that 
you may be rich in heaven." The good mother soon after slept 
in peace. Upon the news of her death, the emperor Theodosius 
sent for the noble virgin to court, having promised her in 
marriage to a favourite young senator. But the virgin wrote 
him with lier own hand the following answer : " Invincible 
emperor, having consecrated myself to Christ in perpetual chas- 
tity, I cannot be false to my engagement, and marry a mortal 
man, who will shortly be the food of worms. For the sake of 
my parents, be pleased to distribute their estates among the 
poor, the orphans, and the church. Set all my slaves at liberty, 
and discharge my vassals and servants, giving them whatever 
is their due. Order my father's stewards to acquit my farmers 
of all they owe since his death, that I may serve God without 
let or hinder ance, and may stand before him without the 
solicitude of temporal affairs. Pray for me, you and your 
empress, that I may be made worthy to serve Christ. The 
messengers returned with this letter to the emperor, who shed 
many tears in reading it. The senators who heard it burst 
also into tears, and said to hiis majesty : '^ She is the worthy 
daughter of Antigonus and Euphrasia, of your royal blood, 
and the holy off-spring of a virtuous stock." The emperor 
punctually executed all she desired^ a little before his death, 
in 395. 

St. Euphrasia was to her pious sisters a perfect pattern of 
humility, meekness and charity. If she found herself assaulted 
by any temptation, she immediately discovered it to the abbess, 

* Thb passage is (quoted bj St John Damascene, Or. 3. de Imagixu 

138 ST. THEOPHANES, A. C [MaRCH 13, 

to drive away the devil by that humiliation, and to seek a remedy. 
The discreet superioress often enjoined her, on such occasions, 
some humbling and painful penitential labour ; as sometimes to 
carry great stones from one place to another; which employ- 
ment she once, under an obstinate assault, continued thirty days 
together with wonderful simplicity, till the devil being vanquished 
Dy her humble obedience and chastisement of her body, he left 
iier in peace. Her diet was only herbs or pulse, which she took 
after sunset, at first every day, but afterwards only once in two or 
three, or sometimes seven days. But her abstinence received its 
chief merit from her humility; without which it would have 
been a fast of devils. She cleaned out the chambers of the 
other nuns, carried water to the kitchen, and out of obedience, 
cheerfully employed herself in the meanest drudgery ; making 
painful labour a part of her penance. To mention one instance 
of her extraordinary meekness and humility : it is related, that 
one day a maid in the kitchen, asked her why she fasted whole 
weeks, which no other attempted to do besides the abbess P Her 
answer was that the abbess had enjoined her that penance. The 
other called her a hypocrite. Upon which Euphrasia fell at her 
feet, begging her to pardon and pray for her. In which action 
it is hard to say, whether we ought more to admire the patience 
with which she received so unjust a rebuke and slander, or the 
humility with which she sincerely condemned herself; as if, by 
her hypocrisy and imperfections, she had been a scandal to 
others. She was favoured with miracles both before and after 
her death, which happened in the year 410, and the thirtieth of 
her age. Her name is recorded on this day in the Roman Mar- 
tyrology. See her ancient authentic life in Rosweide, p. 351^ 
D'Andilly, and most correct in the Acta Sanctorum by the 


Hts father, who was governor of the isles of the Archipelago, 
died when he was only three years old, and left him heir to a 
very great estate, under the guardianship of the Iconoclast 
emperor, Constantine Copronymus. Amidst the dangers of such 
an education, a faithful pious servant instilled into his tender 
mind the most generous sentiments of virtue and religion. 
Being arrived at man's estate, he was compelled by his friends 

March 13.] sr. theophanes, a.c. 139 

to take a wife ; but on the day of his marriage^ he spoke in so 
moving a manner to his consort on the shortness and uncertainty 
of this life, that they made a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. 
She afterwards became a nun, and he for his part built two 
monasteries in Mysia; one of which, called Megal-Agre, near 
the Propontis, he governed himself. He lived, as it were, dead 
to the world and the flesh, in the greatest purity of life, and 
in the exercises of continual mortification and prayer. In 787, 
he assisted at the second council of Nice, where sJl admired to 
«ee one, whom they had formerly known in so much worldly 
grandeur, now so meanly clad, so modest, and so full of self- 
contempt as he appeared to be. He n€ver laid aside his hair 
shirt; his bed was a mat, and his pillow a stone; his suste- 
nance was hard coarse bread and water. At fifty years of age, 
he began to be grievously affiicted with the stone and nephritic 
colic ; but bore with cheerfulness the most excruciating pains of 
his distemper. The emperor Leo, the Armenian, in 814^ 
renewed the persecution against the church, and abolished the 
use of holy images, which had been restored under Constantine 
and Irene. Knowing the great reputation and authority of 
Theophanes, he endeavoured to gain him by civilities and 
crafty letters. The saint discovered the hook concealed under 
his alluriug baits, which did not, however, hinder him from 
obeying the emperor's summons to Constantinople, though at 
that time under a violent fit of the stone ; which distemper, for 
the remaining part of his life, allowed him very short intervals 
of ease. The emperor sent him this message : " From your 
mild and obliging disposition, I flatter myself you are come to 
confirm my sentiments oh the point in question with your suffirage. 
It is your readiest way for abtaining my favour, and with that 
the greatest riches and honours for yourself, your monastery, and 
relations, which it is in the power of an emperor to bestow. 
But if you refuse to comply with my desires in this aflair, you 
will incur my highest displeasure, and draw misery and disgrace 
on yourself and friends." The holy man returned for answer: 
'* Being now far advanced in years, and much broken with 
pains and infirmities, I have neither relish nor inclination for 
any of these things which I despised for Christ's sake in my 
youth, when I was in a condition to enjoy the world. As to my 
monastery and friends, I recommend them to God. If you think 
to frighten me into a compliance by your threats as a child i^ 

340 ST. KENNOCHA, V, [MARCH 13. 

awed by the rod, yoa only lose your labour. For though unable 
to walk, and subject to many other corporal infirmities, I trust 
in Christ that he will enable me to undergo, in defence of his 
cause, the sharpest tortures you can inflict on my weak body." 
The emperor employed several persons to endeavour to overcome 
his resolution, but in vain : so seeing himself vanquished by his 
constancy, he confined him two years in a close stinking dungeon, 
w^here he suffered much from his distemper and want of neces- 
saries. He was also cruelly scourged, having received three 
hundred stripes. In 818, he was removed out of his dungeon, 
and banished into the isle of Samothracia, where he died in 
seventeen days after his arrival, on the 12th of March. His relics 
were honoured by many miraculous cures. He has left us his 
Chronographia, or short history from the year 284, the first of 
Dioclesian, where George Syncellus left off, to the year 81 3^* 
His imprisonment did not allow him leisure to polish the style. 
See his contemporary life, and the notes of Goar and Combefis, 
two learned Dominicans, on his works, printed at Paris, in 1655. 



From her infancy she was a model of humility, meekness, 
modesty and devotion. Though an only daughter, and the 
heiress of a rich and noble family, fearing lest the poison which 
lurks in the enjoyment of perishable goods, should secretly steal 
into her affections, or the noise of the world should be a hinder- 
ance to her attention to heavenly things and spiritual exercises, 
she rejected all solicitations of suitors and worldly friends, and, 
in the bloom of life, made an entire sacrifice of herself to God, 
by making her religious profession in a great nunnery, in the 
county of Fife. In this holy state, by an extraordinary love of 
poverty and mortification, a wonderful gift of prayer, and purity 
or singleness of heart, she attained to the perfection of all virtues. 
Several miracles which she wrought made her name famous 
among men, and she passed to God in a good old age, in the 

* George Syncellus, (t. t, secretary to the patriarch St. Tarasius,) a holy 
monk, and zealous defender of holy images, was a close friend of Saint 
Theophanes, and died about the year 800^ In his chronicle are preserved 
excellent fragments of Manetho, the Egyptian, of Julius Africanu% 
Eusebius, &o. 

March 14.] st. maud. 141 

year 1007. Several churches in Scolland bore her name, par- 
ticularly one near Glasgow, still called St. Kennoch's Kirk, and 
another called by an abbreviation of her name Kyle, in which 
her relics were formerly kept with singular veneration. In the 
Aberdeen Breviary she is honoured with a particular prayer. 
She is mentioned by Adam King, in his calendar, and an account 
of her life is given us in the Chronicle of Scone. 


He was an Englishman, who, passing into Ireland, became a 
monk in the abbey of Megeo, or Mayo, founded by Colman of 
Lindisfarne, for the English. Gerald was advanced successively 
to the dignity of abbot and bishop, and founded the abbey of 
Elytheria, or Tempul-Gerald in COnnaught, that of Teagh-na- 
Saxon, and a nunnery which he put under the care of his sister 
Segretia. He departed to our Lord in 732, and was buried at 
Mayo, where a church dedicated to God under his patronage 
remains to this day. See Colgan. 



Having been educated under St. Comgal, in the monastery of 
Benchor, he laid the foundation of the great monastery of 
Liath-Mochoemoc, around which a large town was raised, which 
still bears that name. His happy death is placed by the chrono- 
logists on the 13th of March, in 655. See Usher's Antiquities 
in Tab. Chron. and Colgan. 



From her life, written forty years after her death, by the order of St. Henry ; 
Acta Sanct. t. 7. p. 361. 

A.D. 968. 

This princess was daughter of Theodoric, a powerful Saxon 
oount. Her parents, being sensible that piety is the only true 

142 8T. SIAXTD. [MlBCU 14. 

greatness, placed her very yonng in the monastery of Erford^ 
of which her grandmother Maad, who had renounced the world 
in her widowhood, was then ahbess. Here our saint acquired 
an extraordinary relish for prayer and spiritual reading; and 
learned to work at her needle, and to employ all the precious 
moments of life in something serious and worthy the great end 
of her creation. She remained in that house an accomplished 
model of all virtues, till her parents married her to Henry, 
son of Otho, duke of Saxony, in 913. Her hushand, sumamed 
the Fowler, from his fondness for the diversion of hawking, then 
much in vogue, became duke of Saxony by the death of his 
father, in 916 ; and in 919, upon the death of Conrad, was 
chosen king of Germany. He was a pious and victorimis prince, 
and very tender of his subjects. His solicitude in easing their 
taxes, made them ready to serve their country in his wars at 
their own charges, though he generously recompensed their 
zeal after his expeditions, which were always attended with 
success. Whilst he, by his arms, checked the insolence of the 
Hungarians and Danes, and enlarged his dominions by adding 
to them Bavaria, Maud gained domestic victories over her 
spiritual enemies, more worthy of a Christian, and far greater 
in the eyes of heaven. She nourished the precious seeds of 
devotion and humility in her heart by assiduous pMiyer and 
meditation; and, not content with the time which the day 
afforded for these exercises, employed part of the night the 
same way. The nearer the view was which she took of worldly 
vanities, the more clearly she discovered their emptiness and 
dangers, and sighed to see men pursue such bubbles to the loss 
of their souls; for, under a fair outside, they contain nothing 
but poison and bitterness. 

It was her delight to visit, comfort, and exhort the sick and 
the af&icted ; to serve and instruct the poor, teaching them 
the advantages of their state from the benedictions and example 
of Christ ; and to afford her charitable succours to prisoners, 
procuring them their liberty where motives of justice would 
permit it ; or at least easing the weight of their chains by 
liberal alms ; but her chief aim was to make them shake off 
theit, sins by sincere repentance. Her husband, edified by 
her example, concurred with her in every pious undertaking 
which she projected. After twenty-three years' marriage, God 
was pleased to call the king to himself by an apoplectic fit^ 

March 14.] bt. maud. 143 

in 936. Maud, during liis sickness, went to the Church to pour 
forth her soul in prayer for him at the foot of the altar. As 
soon as she understood, by the tears and cries of the people, 
that he had expired, she called for a priest who was fasting, 
to offer the holy sacrifice for his soul ; and at the same time 
cut off the jewels which she wore, and gave them to the priest, 
as a pledge that she renounced from that moment the pomp of 
the world. She had three sons ; Otho, afterwards emperor ; 
Henry, Duke of Bavaria, and St. Bruno, archbishop of Cologne. 
Otho was crowned king of Germany in 937, and emperor at 
Rome in 962, after his victories over the Bohemians and 
Lombards. Maud, in the contest between her two elder sons 
for the crown which was elective, favoured Henry, who was 
the younger, a fault she expiated by severe afflictions and 
penance. These two sons conspired to strip her of her dowry, 
on the unjust pretence that she had squandered away the 
revenues of the state on the poor. This persecution was long 
and cruel, coming from all that was most dear to her in this 
world. The unnatural princes at length repented of their 
injustice, were reconciled to her, and restored her all that had 
been taken from her. She then became more liberal in her 
alms than ever, and founded many churches, with five monas- 
teries ; of which the principal were that of Polden in the duchy 
of Brunswick, in which she maintained three thousand monks ; 
and that of Quedlinbourg in the duchy of Saxony.* She 
buried her husband in this place, and when she had finished 
the buildings, made it her usual retreat. She applied herself 
totally to her devotions, and to works of mercy. It was her 
greatest pleasure to teach the poor and ignorant how to pray, 
as she had formerly taught her servants. In her last sickness 
she made her confession to her grandson William, the arch- 
bishop of Mentz, who yet died twelve days before her, on his 
road home. She again made a public confession before the 
priests and monks of the place, received a second time the last 
sacraments, and lying on a sack-cloth with ashes on her head, 
died on the 14th of March in 96S. Her body remains at 
Quedlinbourg. Her name is recorded in the Roman Mar- 
tyrology on this day. 

* The abbess of this latter is the first priDcess of the empire. 

144 ST. ACEPSIMAS, &C. MM. [MARCH 14. 

The beginning of true virtue is most ardently to desire it, and 
to ask it of God with the utmost assiduity and earnestness,(l) 
preferring it with all the saints to kingdoms and thrones^ and 
considering riches as nothing in comparison with this our only 
and inestimable treasure. Fervent prayer, holy meditation, and 
reading pious books, are the principal means by which it is to 
be constantly improved, and the interior life of the soul to be 
strengthened. These are so much the more necessary in the 
world than in a religious state, as its poison and distractions 
threaten her continually with the greatest danger. Amidst the 
pomp, hurry, and amusements of a court, St. Maud gave herself 
up to holy contemplation with such earnestness, that though she 
was never wanting to any exterior or social duties, her soul was 
raised above all perishable goods, dwelt always in heaven, and 
sighed after that happy moment which was to break the bonds 
of her slavery, and unite her to God in eternal bliss and perfect 
love. Is it possible that so many Christians, capable of finding 
in God their sovereign felicity, should amuse themselves with 
pleasures which flatter the senses, with reading profane books, 
and seeking an empty satisfaction in idle visits, vain conversation, 
news, and sloth, in which they pass those precious hours which 
they might employ in exercises of devotion, and in the duties 
and serious employments of their station ? What trifles do they 
suffer to fill their minds and hearts, and to rob them of the 
greatest of all treasures ? Conversation and visits in the world 
must only be allowed as far as they are social duties, must be 
regulated by charity and necessity, sanctified by simplicity, 
prudence, and every virtue, animated by the spirit of God, and 
seasoned with a holy unction which divine grace gives to those 
whom it perfectly replenishes and possesses. 



St. Maruthas closes with the acts of these martyrs, his history 
of the persecution of King Sapor, which raged without inter- 
mission during forty years. The venerable author assures us, 
that, living in the neighbourhood, he had carefully informed 
himself of the several circumstances of their combats &om those 
(1) Sap. vU. 6. 


March 14.] st, acepsimas, &c. mm. 145 

who were eye-witnesses, and ushers in his account with the 
following address : " Be propitious to me, O Lord, through the 
prayers of these martyrs. Being assisted by the divine grace, 
and strengthened by 3'^our protection, ye incomparable men, I 
presume to draw the outlines of your heroic virtues and incre- 
dible torments. But the remembrance of your bitter sufferings 
Covers me with shame, confusion, and tears, for myself and my 
sins. ! you who hear this relation, count the days and the 
hours of three years and a half which they spent in prison, and 
remember they passed no month without frequent tortures, no 
day free from pain, no hour without the threat of immediate 
death. The festivals and new moons were black to them by 
fresh racks, beatings, clubs, chains, hanging by their limbs, dis- 
locations of their joints, &c.*' In the thirty-seventh year of this 
persecution, a fresh edict was published, commanding the gover- 
nors and magistrates to punish all Christians with racks, scourges 
stoning, and every sort of death, laying to their charge the fol- 
lowing articles : " They abolish our doctrine ; they teach men to 
worship one only God, and forbid them to adore the sun or fire ; 
they use water for profane washing ; they forbid persons to 
marry, to be soldiers in the king's armies, or to strike any one ; 
ihey permit all sorts of animals to be killed, and they suffer the 
dead to be buried ; they say that serpents and scorpions were 
made, not by the devil, but by God himself." 

Acepsimas, bishop of Honita in Assyria, a man above four- 
score years old, but of a vigorous and strong constitution of body, 
was apprehended, and conducted in chains to Arbela, before the 
governor. This judge admired how he could deny the divinity 
of the sun, which all the East adored. The martyr answered 
him, expressing his astonishment how men could prefer a crea- 
ture to the Creator. By the orders of the governor he was laid 
on the ground with his feet bound, and in that posture barbarously 
scourged, till his whole body was covered with blood • after 
which he was thrown into prison. 

In the mean time one Joseph, a holy priest of Bethcatuba, 
and Aithilahas, a deacon of Beth-nudra, famed for eloquence, 
sanctity, and learning, were brought before the same governor. 
To his interrogatories, Joseph answered that he was a Christian, 
and had always taught the sun to be an inanimate creature. The 
issue was, that he was stretched flat on the ground, and benen 
with thick twigs stripped of the thorns, by ten executioners, who 

146 ST. ACEPSIMAS, &C. MM. [MaBCH 14. 

Fuoceeded one another, till his body seemed one continued wound. 
At the sight of himself in this condition the martyr with joy said .- 
'' I return you the greatest thanks I am able, Christy the Son of 
God, who have granted me this mercy, and washed me with this 
second baptism of my blood, to wipe away my sins/' His courage 
the persecutors deemed an insult, and redoubled their fury in 
tearing and bruising his blessed body. After he was loosened, 
loaded with heavy chains, and cast into the same dungeon with 
Acepsimas, Aithilahas was called upon. The governor said to 
him : " Adore the sun, which is a divinity, eat blood, marry,* 
and obey the king, and you shall live." The martyr answered : 
*' It is better to die, in order to live eternally." By the judge's 
command, his hands were tied under his knees, and his body 
fastened to a beam : in this posture it was squeezed and pulled 
many ways, and afterwards scourged. His bones were in many 
places broken or dislocated, and his flesh mangled. At length, 
not being able to stand, he was carried back to prison on mens' 
shoulders. On the next day, they were all three again brought 
forth, and stretched on the ground, bound fast with cords, and 
their legs, thighs, and ribs so squeezed and strained by stakes, 
that the noise of the bones breaking filled the place with horror. 
Yet to every solicitation of the judge or officers, their answer 
was : ** We trust in one God, and we will not obey the king's 
edicts.'* Scarcely a day passed in which some new torture or 
other was ucC invented and tried upon them. 

After they hau for three years suffered the hardships of impri- 
sonment and daily torments, the king coming into Media, the 
martyrs were brought before Adarsapor, the chief of all the 
governors of the East, several other satrapes and governors 
sitting with him in the palace. They were carried thither, for 
they were not able to walk, and they scarely retained the figure 
tf human bodies. The very sight of such spectacles moved all 
who saw them to compassion, and many to tears. They cou- 
rageously professed themselves Christians, and declared that 
they would never abandon their faith. Adarsapor said, he saw 
by their wounds what they had already suffered, and used both 
threats and entreaties to work them into a compliance with the 

* From this, and many other passages, it is clear that the obligation of 
perpetual chastity was annexed to Holy Orders in the eastern churches nn 
less than in the western. 

March 14.] st. acejsimas, &c. mm. 147 

law. When they hegged him to hasten the execution of his 
threats, he told them : *' Death frees criminals from pain : hut 
I will render life to you as grievous as a continued death, that 
others of your sect may tremhle." Acepsimas said : " In vain 
do you threaten. God, in whom we trust, will give us courage 
and constancy." At this answer, fury flashed in the eyes of 
Adarsapor, and he swore by the fortune of King Sapor, that if 
they did not that instant obey the edicts, he would sprinkle their 
grey hairs with their blood, would destroy their bodies, and 
would cause their dead remains to be beaten to powder. Acep- 
simas said : *' To you we resign our bodies, and commend to 
God our souls. Execute what you threaten. It is what we 
desire." The tyrant, with rage painted in every feature of his 
countenance, ordered the venerable old man to be stretched on 
the ground, and thirty men, fifteen on ©ach side, to pull and 
haul him by cords tied to his arms, legs, and other limbs, so as 
to dislocate and almost tear them asunder; and two hangmen in 
the mean time to scourge his body with so much cruelty, as to 
mangle and tear ofl" the flesh in many parts : under which tor- 
ment the martyr expired. His body was watched by guards 
appointed for that purpose, till after three days it was stolen 
away by the Christians, and buried by the care of a daughter 
of the king of Armenia, who was at that time a hostage in 

Joseph and Aithilahas underwent the same punishment, but 
came alive out of the hands of the executioners. The latter 
said to the judge under his torments : " Your tortures are too 
aaild, increase them as you please." Adarsapor, struck with 
astonishment at their courage, said : " These men are greedy 
of torments as if they were banquets, and are fond of a 
kingdom that is invisible." He then caused them to be tor- 
mented afresh, so that every part of their bodies was mangled, 
and their shoulders and arms disjointed. Adarsapor gave an 
order that if they did not die of their torments, they should be 
carried back into their own country, to be there put to death. 
The two martyrs, not being able to sit, were tied on the backs 
of beasts, and conveyed with great pain to Arbela, their guards 
treating them on the way with no more compassion than if 
they had been stones. Jazdundocta, an illustrious lady of the 
city of Arbela, for a great sum of money, obtained leave of the 
governor, that they should be brought to her house, to take a 

148 ST. ACEPSIMAS, &C. MM. [MARCH 14l 

short refreshment. She dressed their wounds^ hathed their 
bodies with her tears^ and was exceedingly encouraged by 
their faith and extortions. The blessed martyrs were soon 
taken from her hoase to prison, where they languished six 
months longer. A new governor at length came into that 
province, the most savage of men, bringing an edict of the 
king, commanding, that Christians who were condemned to 
death, should be stoned by those who professed the same 
religion. The news of his arrival drove the Christians into 
the woods and deserts, that they might not be compelled to 
imbrue their hands in the blood of martyrs. But soldiers 
there hunted them like wild beasts, and many were taken. 
The two confessors were presented before this new judge. 
Joseph was hung up by the toes, and scourged during two 
hours in the presence of the judge, who hearing him discourse 
on the resurrection, said: "In that resurrection how do you 
design to punish me P" The martyr replied : *' We are taught 
meekness, to return good for evil, and to pray for enemies." 
"Well," said the judge, "then I shall meet with kindness 
from your hands for the evil which you here receive from me." 
To which the martyr answered : " There will be then no room 
for pardon or favour: nor will one be able to help another. 
I will pray that God may bring you to the knowledge of 
himself in this life." The judge said: *' Consider these things 
in the next world, whither I am going to send you : at present 
obey the king." The old man answered : "Death is our desire." 
The emperor then began to interrogate Aithilahas, and caused 
him to be hung Dp by the heels a long time together. He was 
at length taken down, and to move him to a compliance, he was 
shown a certain Manichaean heretic who had renounced his 
religion for fear of torments, and was killing ants, which those 
heretics held unlawful, teaching that insects and beasts have 
rational souls. The saint, lying on the ground, was scourged 
till he fell into a swoon, and then was hauled aside like a dog. 
A certain Magian, out of pity, threw a coat over his wounds to 
cover bis naked body ; for which act of compassion he received 
two hundred lashes till he fainted. Thamsaphor arriving at 
his castle of Beth-Thabala, in that country, the governor caused 
the martyrs to be carried before him. They were ordered to 
eat the blood of beasts : which they refused to do. One told 
them^ tJiat if they would eat the juice of red grapes curdled. 

March 14.] st. boniface, b. c. 149' 

which the people might think to be blood, this would satisfy 
the judges. They answered : '* God forbid we should dissemble 
our faith." We have elsewere taken notice that the Christians 
then observed in many places the positive temporary law of the- 
apostles.(l) Thamsapor and the governor, after a short con- 
sultation, condemned both to be stoned to death by the Chris- 
tians. Joseph was executed at Arbela. He was put into the 
ground up to the neck. The guards had drawn together five 
hundred Christians to his execution. The noble lady Jazdun- 
docta was brought thither, and earnestly pressed to throw but 
a feather at the martyr that she might seem to obey the order 
of the king. But she resolutely resisted their entreaties and 
threats, desiring to die with the servant of God. Many, 
however, having the weakness to comply, a shower of stones 
fell upon the martyr, which put an end to his life. When he 
was dead, guards were set to watch his body ; but the Christians 
found means to steal it away on the third nightj during a dark 
tempest. St. Aithilahas suffered in the province of Beth- 
Nuhadra ; the lord of that country, who had been a Christian, 
by a base apostasy, becoming one of his murderers. Saint 
Maruthas aads,. that angels were heard singing at the place of 
this martyrdom, and many miracles wrought. These martyrs 
suffered in the year 380, the seventieth and last of the reign of 
Sapor, and the fortieth of his persecution. They are men- 
tioned by Sozomen,(2) and are named in the Roman Marty- 
rology on the 22nd of April. See their genuine Chaldaic acts by 
St. Maruthas in Assemani, t. 1. p. 171. Act. Martyr. Orient. 



An ardent zeal for the salvation of souls brought this servant of 
God from Italy to North-Britain. Near the mouth of the Tees, 
where he landed, he built a church under the invocation of 
St. Peter, another at Tellein, three miles from Alect, and a 
third at Restennet. This last was served by a famous monas- 
tery of regular canons of the order of Saint Austin, when 
religious houses were abolished in Scotland. St. Boniface, by 
preaching the word of God, reformed the manners of the pec pie 

(1) Acta XV. 29. (2) B. 2. ch. 13. 

VOL. in. . L. 


in the pro\inces of Angus, Marris, Buchan, Elgin, Murray, and 
Ross. Being made bishop in this last county, he filled it with 
oratories and churches, and by planting the true spirit of Christ 
in the hearts of many^ settled that church in a most flourishing 
condition. He died about the year 630, and was buried at 
Rosmark, the capital of the county of Ross. The Breviary of 
Aberdeen mentions that he founded one hundred and fifty 
churches and oratories in Scotland, and ascribes many miracles 
to his intercession afler his death. See that Breviary, and 
King on this day, bishop Lesley, L 4. Hist. Scot, and Hector 
Boetius, 1. 9. Hist. 



From his life written by his friend, St. Ephrem, Op. t. 2. p. 1. Ed. nov. Vatic- 
See other acts of St. Abraham, given in Latin by Lipomas, 29 Oct., and 
by Surius, 16 March, mentioned in Greek by Lambecius, Bibl. Vind. t. 8. 
p. 255. 260. 266. and by Montfaucon, Bibl. Coislin. p. 211. Two other 
kinds of Greek Acts are found among the MSS. at the abbey of Saint 
Germain-des-Prez, a4; Paris, BibL Coisl. ib. See also Jos. Assemani, 
Bibl. Orient, t. 1. p. 38 and 396, from the Chronicle of Edessa : likewise 
Xohlios, Introductio in historiam et rem literariam Sclavorum, p. 316. 
Altonaviffi, A.D. 1729. 

About the Year 360. 

St. Abraham was born at Chidana, in Mesopotamia, near Edessa, 
of wealthy and noble parents, who, after giving him a most vir- 
tuous education, were desirous of engaging him in the married 
state. In compliance with their inclinations, Abraham took to 
wife a pious and noble virgin ; but earnestly desiring to live and 
die in the state of holy virginity, as soon as the marriage cere- 
mony and feast were over, having made known his resolution to 
his new bride, he secretly withdrew to a cell two miles from the 
city Edessa ; where his friends found him at prayer after a search 
of seventeen days. By earnest entreaties he obtained their con- 
sent, and after their departure walled up the door of his cell 
leaving only a little window, through which he received what 
was necessary for his subsistence. He spent his whole time in 
Rdoring and praising God, and imploring his mercy. He every 

March 15.] ss. Abraham and mart. 161 

day wept abundantly. He was possessed of no other earthly 
goods but a cloak and a piece of sackcloth which he wore, and 
a little vessel out of which he both eat and drank. For fifty 
years he was never wearied with his austere penance and holy 
exercises, and seemed to draw from them every day fresh 
vigour. Ten years after he had left the world, by the demise 
of his parents, he inherited their great estates, but commissioned 
a virtuous friend to distribute the revenues in alms-deeds. 
Many resorted to him for spiritual advice, whom he exceed- 
ingly comforted and edified by his holy discourses. 

A large country town in the diocess of Edessa, remained 
till that time addicted to idolatry, and its inhabitants had 
loaded with injuries and outrages all the holy monks and 
others who had attempted to preach the gospel to them. The 
bishop at length cast his eye on Abraham, ordained him priest 
fhough much against his will, and sent him to preach the faith 
to those obstinate infidels. He wept all the way as he went, 
and wi4ih great earnestness repeated this prayer : " Most merci- 
ful God, look down on my weakness : assist me with thy grace, 
that thy name may be glorified. Despise not the works of thy 
own hands." At the sight of the town, reeking with the impious 
rites of idolatry, he redoubled the torrents of his tears : but 
found the citizens resolutely determined not to hear him speak. 
Nevertheless, he continued to pray and weep among them 
without intermission, and though he was often beaten and ill- 
treated, and thrice banished by them, he always returned with 
the same zeal. After three years the infidels were overcome by 
his meekness and patience, and being touched by an extraordi- 
nary grace, all demanded baptism. He staid one year longer 
with them to instruct them in the faith ; and on their being 
supplied with priests and other ministers, he went back to his 

His brother dying soon after his return thither, left an only 
daughter, called Mary, whom the saint undertook to train up in 
a religious life. For this purpose he placed her in a cell near 
his own, where, by the help of his instructions, she became 
eminent for her piety and penance. At the end of twenty years 
she was unhappily seduced by a wolf in sheep's clothing, a 
wicked monk ; who resorted often to the place under colour o 
receiving advioe from her uncle. Hereupon falling into despair, 
she went to a distant town, where she gave herself up to the 


most criminal disorders. The saint ceased not for two years <jo 
weep and pray for her conversion. Being then informed where 
she dwelt, he dressed himself like a citizen of that town, and 
going to the inn where she lived in the pursuit of her evil courses 
desired her company with him at supper. When he saw her 
ftlone, he took off his cap which disguised him, and with many 
tears said to her: "Daughter Mary, don t you know me ? 
What is now become of your angelical habit, of your tears and 
watchings in the divine praises ?" &c. 

Seeing her struck and filled with horror and confusion, he 
tenderly encouraged her and comforted her, saying that he 
would take her sins upon himself if she would faithfully follow 
his advice, and that his friend Ephrem also prayed and wept for 
her. She with many tears returned him her most hearty thanks, 
and promised to obey in all things his injunctions. He set her 
on his horse, and led the beast himself on foot. In this manner 
he conducted her back to his desert, and shut her up in a cell 
behind his own. There she spent the remaining fifteen years of 
her life in continual tears, and the most perfect practices of 
penance and other virtues. Almighty God was pleased within 
tlyee years after her conversion, to favour her with the gift of 
working miracles by her prayers. And as soon as she was dead, 
" her countenance appeared to us," says St. Ephrem, " so shin- 
ing, that we understood that choirs of angels had attended at her 
passage out of this life into a better," St. Abraham died five 
years before her : at the news of whose sickness, almost the 
whole city and country flocked to receive his benediction. When 
he had expired, every one strove to procure for themselves some 
part of his clothes, and St. Ephrem, who was an eye-witness, 
relates, that many sick were cured by the touch of these relics. 
SS. Abraham and Mary were both dead when St. Ephrem wrote, 
who died himself in 378.* St. Abraham is named in the Latin, 
Greek, and Coptic calendars, and also St. Mary in those of the 

St. Abraham converted his desart into a paradise, because he 
found in it his God, whose presence makes Heaven. He wanted 

• BoUandus, Papebroke, and Pagi pretend that St Abraham the hermit 
lived near the Hellespont, and long after St. Ephrem : but are clearly con> 
futed by Jos. Assemani, Bibl. Orient, t. 1. and Com. in Calend. Univ. t. 6. 
p. 324. ad 29 Oct. The Chronicle of Edessa assures us that he was a native 
of Chidana, and was living in th« year of the Greeks, 667 ; of Christ, 356, 

March 15.] st. zachary, p. C. 153 

not the company of men, who enjoyed that of God and his angels ; 
nor could he ever be at a loss for employment, to whom both 
the days and nights were two short for heavenly contemplation. 
Whilst his body was employed in penitential manual labour, 
his mind and heart were sweetly taken up in God, who was to 
him All in All, and the centre of all his desires and affections. 
His watchings were but an uninterrupted sacrifice of divine 
love, and by the ardour of his desire, and the disposition of his 
soul and its virtual tendency to God, his sleep itself was a 
continuation of his union with God, and exercise of loving him. 
He could truly say with the spouse, I sleep ^ hut my heart 
watcheth. Thus Christians, who are placed in distracting 
stations, may also, if they accustom themselves, converse inte- 
riorly with God in purity of heart, and in all their actions 
and desires have only his will in view. Such a life is a kind of 
imitation of the Seraphim, to whom to live and to love are one 
and the same thing. " The angels," says St. Gregory the Great, 
'* always carrry their Heaven about with them wheresoever 
they are sent, because they never depart from God, or cease to 
behold him ; ever dwelling in the bosom of his immensity ; 
living and moving in him, and exercising their ministry in the 
sanctuary of his divinity." This is the happiness of every 
Christian who makes a desert, by interior solitude, in his own 


He succeeded Gregory III. in 741, and was a man of singular 
meekness and goodness ; and so far from any thought of revenge, 
that he heaped benefits on those who had persecuted him before 
his promotion to the pontificate. He loved the clergy and people 
' of Rome to that degree, that he hazarded his life for them on 
occasion of the troubles which Italy fell into by the rebellion of 
the dukes of Spoletto and Benevento against King Luitprand. 
Out of respect to his sanctity and dignity, that king restored to 
the church of Rome all the places which belonged to it, Ameria, 
Horta, Narni, Ossimo, Ancona, and the whole territory of Sabina, 
and sent back the captives without ransom. The Lombards were 
moved to tears at the devotion with which they heard him per- 
form the divine service. By a journey to Pavia, he obtained 
also of Luitprand, though with some difficulty, peace for tha 

164 BT. ZACHARY, P. C. [MaRCH 15. 

territory of Ravenna, and the restitution of the places which he 
had taken from the exarchate. The zeal and prudence of this 
holy pope appeared in many wholesome regulations, which he 
had made to reform or settle -the discipline and peace of several 
churches. St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, wrote to him 
against a certain priest, named Yirgilius ; that he lahoured to 
sow the seeds of discord between him and Odilo, duke of Bavaria, 
and taught, besides other errors, that there were other men 
under the earth, another sun and moon, and another world.* 
Pope Zachary answered, that if he taught such an error he 
ought to be deposed. This cannot be understood as a condem- 
nation of the doctrine of Antipodes, or the spherical figure of the 
earth, as some writers have imagined by mistake. The error 
here spoken of is that of certain heretics, who maintained that 
there was another race of men, who did not descend from Adam, 
and were not redeemed by Christ. Nor did Zachary pronounce 
any sentence in the case : for in the same letter he ordered that 
Virgilius should be sent to Rome, that his doctrine might be 
examined. It seems that he cleared himself: for we find this 
same Yirgilius soon after made bishop of Saltzburgh.f Certain 
Venetian merchants having bought at Rome many slaves to sell 
to the Moors in Africa, St. Zachary forbade such an iniquitous 
traffic, and, paying the merchants their price, gave the slaves 
their liberty. He adorned Rome with sacred buildings, and 
with great foundations in favour of the poor and pilgrims, and 
gave every year a considerable sum to furnish oil for the lamps 

• Quod alius mundus et alii homines sub terra sint, seu alius sol et luna. 
(Ep. 10. t. 6. Cone. p. 15. 21. et Bibl. Patr. inter Epist. S. Bonif.) To 
imagine diflfereut worlds of men upon earth, some not descending from Adam, 
nor redeemed by Christ, is contrary to the holy scriptures, and therefore 
justly condemned as erroneous, as Baronius observes, (add. ann. 784. n. 12.) 

f M-any ancient philosophers thought the earth tlat, not spherical, and 
believed no Antipodes. Several fathers adopted this vulgar error in philo- 
sophy, in which faith no way interferes, tts St. Austin, (1. 16. de Civ. Dei. 
c. 9.) Bede, (1. 4. de Principiis Philos.) and Cosmas the Egyptian, sumamed 
Indicopleustes. It is, however, a mistake to imagine, with Montfaucon, in 
his preface to this last-menCioned author, that this was the general opinion 
of Christian philosophers down to the fifteenth century. For the learned 
Philophonus demonsg-ated before the modem discoveries, (de Mundi Creat. 
1. 3. c. 13.) that the greater part of the fathers teach the world to be a sphere, 
Bs yaint I3asil, the two SS. Gregories, of Nazianzum and of Nyssa, Saint 
Athanasius, &c. And several amongst them mention Antipodes, as Saint 
Hilary, (in Ps. 2. n. 32.) Ori{;en, (1. 2. de princip. c. 3.) Saint Clement 
pope, &c. 

MlBCH 16.] ST. JULIAN, M. loo 

in St. Peter's church. He died in 752, in the month of March, 
and is honoured in the Roman Martyrology on this day. See 
his letters and the Pontificals, t. 6. Cone, also Fleury, 1. 43. 
t 9. p. 349. 



From the panegyric of St. Chrysostom, t. 2. p. 671. Ed. Ben. Tillem. 
t. 6. p. 673. 

This saint was a Cilician, of a senatorian family in Anazarhus, 
and a minister of the gospel. In the persecution of Dioclesian he 
fell into the hands of a judge, who, by his brutal behaviour, 
resembled more a wild beast than a man. The president, seeing 
his constancy proof against the sharpest torments, hoped to 
overcome him by the long continuance of his martyrdom. He 
caused him to be brought before his tribunal every day ; some- 
times he caressed him; at other times threatened him with a 
thousand tortures. For a whole year together he caused him to 
be dragged as a malefactor through all the towns of Cilicia, 
imagining that this shame and confusion might vanquish him : 
but it served only to increase the martyr's glory, and gave him 
an opportunity of encouraging in the faith all the Christians of 
Cilicia by his example and exhortations. He suffered every kind 
of torture. The bloody executioners had torn his flesh, furrowed 
his sides, laid his bones bare, and exposed his very bowels to 
view. Scourges, fire, and the sword, were employed various 
ways to torment him with the utmost cruelty. The judge saw 
that to torment him longer was labouring to shake a rock, and 
was forced at length to own himself conquered by condemning 
him to death: in which, however, he studied to surpass his 
former cruelty. He was then at JEgea, a town on the sea-coast; 
and he caused the martyr to be sewed up in a sack with scorpions, 
serpents, and vipers, and so thrown into the sea. This was the 
Roman punishment for parricides, the worst of malefactors, yet 
seldom executed on them. Eusebius mentions, that St. Ulpian 
(»f Tyre suffered a like martyrdom, being thrown into the sea in 

166 ST. FiNiAN. [March 16. 

a leather sack, together with a dog and an a^pick. The sea gave 
back the body of our holy martyr, which the faithful conveyed 
to Alexandria of Cilicia, and afterwards to Antioch, where Saint 
Chrysostom pronounced his panegyric before his shrine. He 
eloquently sets forth how much these sacred relics were honoured ; 
and affirms, that no devil could stand their presence, and that 
men by them found a remedy for their bodily distempers, and 
the cure of the evils of the soul. 

The martyrs lost with joy their worldly honours, dignity, 
estates, friends, liberty, and lives, rather than forfeit for one 
moment their fidelity to God. They courageously bade defiance 
to pleasures and torments, >to prosperity and adversity, to life 
and death, saying, with the apostle : " Who shall separate us 
from the love of Jesus Christ ?" Crowns, sceptres, worldly riches, 
and pleasures, you have no charms which shall ever tempt me 
to depart in the least tittle from the allegiance which I owe to 
God. Alarming fears of the most dreadful evils, prisons, racks, 
fire, and death, in every shape of cruelty, you shall never shake 
my constancy. Nothing shall ever separate oe from the love of 
Christ. This must be the sincere disposition of every Christian. 
Lying protestations of fidelity to God cost us nothing : but he 
sounds the heart. Is our constancy such as to bear evidence to 
our sincerity, that rather than to fail in the least duty to God 
we are ready to resist to blood ? and that we are always upon 
our guard to keep our ears shut to the voices of those syrens who 
never cease to lay snares to our senses P 


He was son of Conail, descended from Kian, the son of Alild 
king of Munster. He was a disciple of St. Brendan, and flour- 
ished about the middle of the sixth century. He imitated the 
patience of Job under a loathsome and tedious distemper, from 
which his surname was given him. The famous abbey of Innis- 
fallen, which stood in an island of that name, in the great and 
beautiful lake of Lough-Lane in the county of Kerry, was 
founded by our saint.* A second, called from him Ardfinnan, 

• In tlie monastery of Innis-fallen was formerly kept a chronicle called 
the Annals of Innis-fallen. They contain a sketch of universal history, from 
the creation to the year 430. From that time the annalist amply enough 
proseontes the aflfairs of Ireland down to the year 1216, when he wrote.. 

March 17.] st. Patrick, b. c. 157 

he built in Tipperary; and a third at Cluain-more Madoc, in 
Leinster, where he was buried. He died on the 2nd of February ; 
but, says Colgan, his festival is kept on the 16th of March, at all 
the above-mentioned .places. Sir James Ware speaks of two MS. 
histories of his life. See also Usher, (Antiq. c. 17.) Colgan, 17 
Martii. Mr. Smith, in his natural and civil history of the county 
ofKerry,inl755,p. 127. 



The Irish have many lives of their great apostle, whereof the two principal 
are, that compiled by Jocelin, a Cistercian monk, in the twelfth century, 
who quotes four lives written by disciples of the saint ; and that by Probus, 
who, according to BoUandus, lived in the seventh century. But in both 
are intermixed several injudicious popular reports. We, with Tillemont. 
chiefly confine ourselves to the saint's own writings, his Confession, ana 
his Letter to Corotic, which that judicious critic doubts not to be genuine. 
The style in both is the same ; he is expressed in them to be the author ; 
the Confession is quoted by all the authors of his life, and the Letter was 
written before the conversion of the Franks under King Clovis, in 496. 
See Tillemont, t. 16. p. 455. and Brittania Sancta. 

A.D. 464. 

If the virtue of children reflects an honour on their parents, much 
more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious hy the 
innumerable lights of sanctity with which the church of Ireland, 
planted by his labours in the most remote corner of the then 
known world, shone during many ages ; and by the colonies of 
saints with which it peopled many foreign countries ; for, under 
God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the 
streams of that eminent sanctity, by which they were long con- 
spicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born in the decline 
of the fourth century ;* and as he informs us in his Confession, 

They were continued by another band to 1320. They are often quoted by 
Bishop Usher and Sir James Ware. An imperfect transcript is kept among 
the MSS. of the library of Trinity college, Dublin. Bishop Nicholson, in 
his Irish Historical Library, informs us, that the late dake of Chandos had 
a complete copy of them. 

• According to Usher and Tillemont, in 372. The former places his death 
in 493 ; but Tillemont, about the year 456. Nennius, published by Mr. Gale, 
says he died fifty-seven years before the birth of St. Columba, consequently 
in 464. 

168 ST. PATRICK, B. C. [iMlECH 17. 

in a viJlage called Bonaven Taberniae, which seems to be the 
town of Kill Patrick, on the mouth of the river Cluyd, in Scot- 
land, between Dunbriton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a 
Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says hia 
father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen 
of a mnghbouring city of the Romans, who not long after aban- 
doned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, 
and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours. At fifteen years 
of age he committed a fault, which appears not to have been a 
great crime, yet was to him a subject of tears during the remain- 
der of his life.' He says, that when he was sixteen, he lived 
still ignorant of God, meaning of the devout knowledge and fer- 
vent love of God, for he was always a Christian : he never 
ceased to bewail this neglect, and wept when he remembered 
that he had been one moment of his life insensible of the divine 
love. In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by 
certain barbarians, together with many of his father's vassals 
and slaves, taken upon his estate. They took him into Ireland, 
where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the 
forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. 
Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his 
soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of 
a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to him 
with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from 
that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new 
strength in his tender soul. He prayed often in the day, and 
also many times in the night, breaking off his sleep to return to 
the divine praises. His aflELictions were to him a source of hea- 
venly benedictions, because he carried his cross with Christ, that 
is, with patience, resignation and holy joy. St. Patrick, after 
six months spent in slavery under the same master, was admon- 
ished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and 
informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He repaired 
immediately to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and 
found the vessel ; but could not obtain his passage, probably for 
want of money. Thus new trials ever await the servants of God. 
The saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went, but the 
sailors, though pagans, called him back, and took him on board. 
After three days* sail, they made land, probably in the north of 
Scotland : but wandered twenty- seven days through deserts, and 
were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding 

I • 

March 17.] st. Patrick, u. c. 169 

nothing to eat. Patrick had often entertained the company on 
the infinite power of God : they therefore asked him, why he did 
not pray for relief? Animated by a strong faith, he assured them 
that if iney would address themselves with their whole heart to 
the true God, he would hear and succour them. They did so, 
and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time 
provisions never failed them till on the twenty- seventh day they 
came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited. During 
their distress, Patrick refused to touch meats which had been 
offered to idols. One day a great stone from a rock happened to 
fall upon him, and had like to have crushed him to death, whilst 
he had laid down to take a little rest. But he invoked Elias, and 
was delivered from the danger. Some years afterwards he was 
again led captive ; but recovered his liberty after two months. 
When ne was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, 
by divers visions, that he destined him to the great work of the 
conversion of Ireland. He thought he saw all the children of 
that country from the wombs of their mothers stretching out their 
hands, and piteously crying to him for relief.* 

Some think he had travelled into Gaul before he undertook his 
mission, and we find that, whilst he preached in Ireland, he 
had a great desire to visit his brethren in Gaul, and to see those 
whom he calls the saints of God, having been formerly acquainted 
with them. The authors of his life say, that after his second 
captivity, he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and had seen St. 
Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that 
he received his mission, and the apostolical benediction from 
this pope, who died in 432. But it seems, from his Confession, 

• St. Prosper, in his chronicle, assures us that Pope Celestine ordained 
St. Palladius bishop of the Scots in 431, and by him converted their country 
to the faith ; this apostle seems to have preached to this nation first in Ire- 

j iand, and afterwards in Scotland. Though Palladius be styled by St. Prosper 

I and Bede their first bishop, yet the light of the faith had diflFiised its rays 

from Britain into Ireland before that time, as several monuments produced 

by Usher demonstrate. But the general conversion of the inhabitants of this 

island was reserved for St. Patrick. 

The Scots are distinguished from the native Irish in the works of St. 
Patrick, and in other ancient monuments. As to their original, the most 
probable conjecture seems to be, that they were a foreign warlike nation who 
made a settlement in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick. We find 
them menti )ned there in the fourth century. Several colonies of them passed 
not long after into Scotland. But the inhabitants of Ireland were promiscu 
ousiy caLed Scots or Irish for many ages. 

160 ST. PATRICK, B. C. [MABCH 17. 

that be was ordained deacon, priest, and bishop, for bis mission 
in bis own country. It is certain tbat be spent many years in 
preparing bimself for those sacred functions. Great opposition 
was mack against bis episcopal consecration and mission, both 
by bis own relations and by the clergy. These made hinj great 
offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavoured to 
affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed 
bimself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who 
did not know God. Some objected, with the same view, the 
fault which he had committed thirty years before as an obstacle 
to bis ordination. All these temptations threw the saint into 
great perplexities, and had like to have made him abandon the 
work of God. But the Lord, whose will he consulted by earnest 
prayer, supported him, and comforted him by a vision ; so that 
he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold, as 
be says, his birth-right and dignity, to serve strangers, and 
consecrated his soul to God, to carry bis name to the end of 
the earth. He was determined to suffer all things for the accom- 
plishment of his holy design, to receive in the same spirit both 
prosperity and adversity, and to return thanks to God equally 
for the one as for the other, desiring only that bis name might 
be glorified, and his divine will accomplished to his own honour. 
In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the gospel, 
where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted 
bimself entirely for the salvation of these barbarians, to be 
regarded as a stranger, to be condemned as the last of men, to 
suffer from the infidels imprisonment and all kinds of persecution, 
and to give his life with joy, if God should deem him worthy to 
shed his blood in his cause. He travelled over the whole island, 
penetrating into the remotest corners without fearing any dangers, 
and often visited each province. Such was the fruit of his 
preachings and sufferings, that he consecrated to God, by bap- 
tism, an infinite number of people, and laboured effectually that 
they might be perfected in his service by the practice of virtue. 
He ordained every where clergymen, induced women to live in 
holy widowhood and continency, consecrated virgins to Christ, 
and institued monks. Great numbers embraced these states of 
perfection with extreme ardour. Many desired to confer earthly 
riches on him, who had communicated to them the goods of 
heaven ; but he made it a capital duty to decline^all self-interest, 
and whatever might dishonour his ministry. He took nothing 

MlRCH 17.] ST. PATRICK, B.C. '*"' 1^ 

from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave 
back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing 
rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the 
infidels. On the contrary, he gave freely of his own, both to 
pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the 
provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings ; judging 
that necessary for the progress of the gospel, and maintained 
and educated many children whom he trained up to serve at 
the altar. He always gave till he had no more to bestow, and 
rejoiced to see himself poor, with Jesus Christ, knowing poverty 
and afflictions to be more profitable to him than riches and 
pleasures. The happy success of his labours cost him many 

A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian, though in name 
only, disturbed the peace of his flock. He seems to have reigned 
in some part of Wales, after the Britons had been abandoned 
by the Romans. This tyrant, as the saint calls him, having 
made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where Saint 
Patrick had been just conferring the holy chrism, that is, 
confirmation, on a great number of Neophytes, who were yet 
in their white garments after baptism. Corotick, without 
paying any regard to justice, or to the holy sacrament, 
massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the 
infidel Picts or Scots. This probably happened at Easter or 
Whitsuntide. The next day the saint sent the barbarian a 
letter by a holy priest whom he had brought up from his 
infancy, entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and 
at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people 
might not perish for want ; but was only answered by 
railleries, as if the Irish could not be the same Christians with 
the Britons : which arrogance and pride sunk those barba- 
rous conquerors beneath the dignity of men, whilst by it they 
were pufied up above others in their own hearts. The saint, 
therefore, to prevent the scandal which such a flagrant 
enormity gave to his new converts, wrote with his own hand a 
public circular letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an 
ignorant man ; for such is the sincere humility of the saints, 
(most of all when they are obliged to exercise any acts of 
authority,) contrary to the pompous titles which the world 
afiects. He declares, nevertheless, that he is established 
bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other 

162 ST. PATRICK, B. C. [MaECH IT. 

parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus 
Christy whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, 
or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by 
the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus 
Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender 
love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain 
yet mingled with joy, because they reign with the prophet* 
apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us, that Corotick, was 
overtaken by the divine vengeance. St, Patrick wrote his 
Confession as a testimony of his mission, when he was old.* 
It is solid, full of good sense and piety, expresses an extraor- 
dinary humility and a great desire of martyrdom, and is 
written with spirit The author was perfectly versed in the holy 
scriptures. He confesses every where his own faults with a 
sincere humility, and extols the great mercies of God towards 
him in this world, who had exalted him, though the most 
undeserving of men : yet, to preserve him in humility, afibrded 
him the advantage of meeting with extreme contempt from 
others, that is from the heathens. He confesses, for his 
humiliation, that, among other temptations, he felt a great 
desire to see again his own country, and to visit the saints ot 
his acquaintance in Gaul: but durst not abandon his people: 
and says, that the Holy Ghost had declared to him that to do it 
would be criminal. He tells us, that a little before he had 
written this, he himself and all his companions had been 
plundered and laid in irons, for his having baptized the son of 
a certain king against the will of his father : but were released 
after fourteen days. He lived in the daily expectation of such 
accidents, and of mart5rrdom ; but feared nothing, having his 
hope as a' firm smchor fixed in heaven, and reposing himself 
with an entire confidence in the Almighty. He says, that he 
had lately baptized a very beautiful young lady of quality, who 
some days after came to tell him, that she had been admon- 
ished by an angel to consecrate her virginity to Jeslis Christ, 
that she might render herself the more acceptable to God. 
He gave God thanks, and she made her vows with extraordi- 
nary fervour six days before he wrote this letter. 

• The style is not polished ; but the Latin edition is perhaps, only a trans- 
lation : or bis captivities might have prevented his progress in polite learning 
being equal to that which he made in the more sublime ;uid more necessary 

[March 17. st. patuick, b. c. 163 

St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the 
church which he had planted. The first, the acts of which aro 
extant under his name in the editions of the councils, is cer- 
tainly genuine. Its canons regulate several points of discipline^ 
especially relating to penance.* St. Bernard and the tradition 
of the country testify, that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan 
see at Armagh. He estahlished some other hishops, as appears 
by his council and other monuments. He not only converted 
the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but 
also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and 
increase from heaven, as to render Ireland a most flourishing 
garden in the church of God, and a country of saints. And 
those nations, which had for many ages esteemed all others 
barbarians, did not blush to receive from the utmost extremity 
of the uncivilized or barbarous world, their most renowned 
teachers and guides in the greatest of all sciences, that of the 

Many particulars are related of the labours of St. Patrick, 
which we pass over. In the first year of his mission he 
attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the 
kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Taraghe, or 
Temoria, in East-Meath, the residence of the chief king, 
styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat 
of the Druids or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of 
Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher : 
however, he converted several, and, on his road to that place, 
the father of St. Benen, or Benignus, his immediate successor 
in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized 
the kings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the 
king of Connaught, with the greater part of their subjects, 
and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a 

• A second council, extant in the same collection, ought rather to he 
ascribed to a nephew of this saint. Other Irish canons, published in the 
ninth tome of D'Achery's Spicilege, and more by Martenne, (Anecd. tome 
4. part 2.) though they bear the name of St. Patrick, are judged to have 
been framed by some of his successors. See "Wilkins, Cone. Britan. &. 
Hroern. t. 1. p. 3. 

The treatise, of the Twelve Abuses, published among the works of St. 
Austin and St. Cyprian, is attributed to St. Patrick, in a collection of ecclta- 
siastical ordinances mace in Ireland, in the eighth age, by Arbedoc, and hi 
other ancient monuments. The style is elegant ; but it may be a translation 
from an Irish original. Sir James Ware published the works of St. Patrick 
at London, in 1658, in octavo. 

104 ST. PATBICK, B. 0. [MARCH IT. 

monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or 
Patrick's church; also a third, named Sahhal-Padraig, and 
filled the country with churches and schools of piety and 
learning ; the reputatation of which, for the three succeeding 
centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland.* Nennius, abbot 
of Bangor, in 620, in his history of the Britons, (1) published 
by the learned Thomas Gale, says, that St. Patrick took that 
name only when he was ordained bishop, being before called 
Maun ; that he continued his missions over all the provinces of 
Ireland, during forty years; that he restored sight to many 
blind, health to the sick, and raised nine dead persons to life.f 
He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was 
found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to 
another part of the same church. His festival is marked on the 
17th of March, in the Martyrology of Bede, &c. 

The apostles of nations were all interior men, endowed with a 
sublime spirit of prayer. The salvation of souls being a super- 
natural end, the instruments ought to bear a proportion to it, 
and preaching proceed from a grace which is supernatural. 
To undertake this holy function, without a competent stock of 
sacred learning, and without the necessary precautions of 
human prudence and industry, would be to tempt God. But 

(1) C. 65, 56, 57, 58. 61. 

• It geems demonstrated that the St. Patrick who flourished among the 
hermits of Glastenhury, and was there hurled, was distinct from oar saint, 
and somewhat older. 

t The popular tradition attributes the exemption of their country from 
Tenemous creatures to the benediction of St. Patrick, given by his staff, 
called the staff of Jesus, which was kept with great veneration in Dublin, as 
is mentioned in the year 1360, by Ralph Higden, in his Polychronicon, pub- 
lished by Mr* Gale and by others. The isle of Malta is said to derive a 
like privilege from St. Paul, who was there bitten by a viper. 

St. Patrick's purgatory is a cave in an island in the lake Dearg, in the 
county of Donnegal, near the borders of Fermanagh. BoUandus shows the 
falsehood of many things related concerning it. Upon complaint of certain 
superstitious and false notions of the vulvar, in 1497} it was stopped up by 
an order of the pope. See BoUandus, lillemont, p. 787, Alemand in his 
Monastic History of Ireland, and Thiers, Hist des Superst. t. 4. ed. Nov. 
It was soon after opened again by the inhabitants ; but only according to 
the original institution, as BoUandus takes notice, as a penitential retirement 
for those who voluntarily chose it, probably in imitation of St. Patrick, or 
other saints, who had there dedicated themselves to a penitential state. The 
penitents usually spend there several days, living on bread and water, lying 
on rushes or furze, and praying much, with daily stations which they per- 
form barefoot. 


sanctity of life and the union of the heart with God, are a 
qualification far more essential than science, eloquence, and 
human talents. Many almost kill themselves with studying to 
compose elegant sermons, which flatter the ear yet reap very 
little fruit. Their hearers applaud their parts, but very few are 
converted Most preachers, now-a-days, have learning, but are 
not sufficiently grounded in true sanctity, and a spirit of devo- 
tion. Interior humility, purity of heart, recollection, and the 
spirit and the assiduous practice of holy prayer, are the principal 
pttparation for the ministry of the word, and the true means of 
acquiring the science of the saints. A short devout meditation 
and fervent prayer, which kindle a fire in the affections, furnish 
more thoughts proper to move the hearts of the hearers, and 
inspire them with sentiments of true virtue, than many years 
employed l)arely in reading and study. St. Patrick, and other 
apostolic men^ were dead to themselves and the world, and ani- . 
mated with the spirit of perfect charity and humility, by which 
they were prepared by God to be such powerful instruments of 
his grace, as^ by the miraculous change of so many hearts, to 
plant in entire barbarous nations not only the faith, but also the 
spirit of Christ. Preachers, who have not attained to a disen- 
gagement and purity of heart, suffer the petty interests of self- 
love secretly to mingle themselves in their zeal and charity, and 
have reason to suspect that they inflict deeper wounds in their 
own souls than they are aware, and produce not in others the 
good which they imagine. 


Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, obtained a rescript of the 
Emperor Theodosius, to convert an old deserted temple of Bacchus 
into a Christian church. In clearing this place, in the subter- 
raneous secret caverns, called by the Greeks Adita, and held by 
the pagans as sacred, were found infamous and ridiculous figures, 
which Theophilus caused to be exposed in public, to show the 
extravagant superstitions of the idolaters. The heathens in tu- 
mults raised a sedition, killed many Christians in the streets, and 
then retired into the great temple of Serapis as their fortress. In 
sallies they seized many Christians, and upon their refusing to 
sacrifice to Serapis, put them to death by cruel torments, cruci- 
fying them, breaking their legs, and thro^v-ing them into the sinks 
° VOL. III. ° ° ^ 


and jakefl of the temple, with the blood of their yictims. The 
principal ancient divinities of Egypt were Apis, called also Osiris, 
once a great king and benefactor of that country, who was wor- 
shipped under the figure of a bull, and the wife of Apis, named 
Isis, who is said to have taught or improved agriculture.* 

The temple of Serapis, in Alexandria, was most stately and rich 
built on an eminence raised by art, in a beautiful apadous square, 
with an ascent of one hundred steps, surrounded with lofty edifices 
for the priests and officers. The temple was built of marble, 
supported with precious pillars, and the walls on the inside w^re 
covered with plates of brass, silver, and gold. The idol was of ao 
enormous a size, that its arms being extended, they reached to 
the opposite walls of the temple : its figure was that of a venerable 
old man with a beard, and long hair ; but with it was joined a 
monstrous figure of an animal with three heads : the biggest in 
the middle was that of a lion ; that of a dog fawning came out on 
the right side, and that of a ravenous wolf on the left : a serpent 
was represented twining round these three animals, and laying 
its head on the right-hand of Serapis : on the idol's head was 
placed a bushel, an emblem of the fertility of the earth. The statue 
was made of precious stones, wood, and all sorts of metal together ; 
its colour was at first blue, but the steams or moisture of the 
place had turned it black. A hole in the temple was contrived to 
admit the sun's rays upon its mouth, at the hour when the idol 
of the sun was brought in to visit it. Many other artifices were 
employed to deceive the people into an opinion of its miracles. 
No idol was so much respected in Egypt; and on its account 
Alexandria was looked upon as a holy city. 

The emperor being informed of the sedition, called those happy 
who had received by it the crown of martyrdom : and not to dis- 
honour their triumph, he pardoned their murderers, but sent an 
order to demolish the temples in Egypt. When this letter was 
read at Alexandria, the pagans raised hideous cries ; many left 
the city, and all withdrew from the temple of Serapis. The idol 
was cut down by pieces, and thrown into a fire. The heathens 
were persuaded that if any one should touch it, the heavens would 
fall, and the world return into the state of its primitive chaos. 

* Those mistake the truth, who confound Serapis with Osiris, or who ima- 
^ne him to have been the patriarch Joseph. Serapis was a modem divinity, 
falaed by the Ptolomies. See Calmet, Bauier on Mythology, &c. 

March 17.] sr. joseph of arimathea. 167 

Seeing no such judgment threaten^ they began themselves to 
deride a senseless trunk reduced to ashes. The standard of the 
Nile's increase was kept in this temple^ but it was on this occasion 
removed into the cathedral. The idolaters expected the river 
would swell no more : but finding the succeeding years very fertile, 
they condemned the vanity of their superstitions, and embraced 
the faith. Two churches were built on the place where this 
temple stood, and its metal was converted to the use of churchejs. 
The busts of Serapis on the walls, doors, and windows of the 
houses were broken and taken away. The temples all over Egypt 
were demolished, during the two following years. In pulling 
down those of Alexandria, the cruel mysteries of Mithra were 
discovered, and in the secret Adyta were found the heads of many 
infants cut off, cruelly mangled, and superstitiously painted. The 
artifices of the priests of the idols were likewise detected : there 
were hollow idols of wood and brass, placed against a wall, with 
subterraneous passages, through which the priests entered the 
hollow trunks of the idols, and gave answers as oracles, as is 
related by Theodoret,(l) and Rufinus.(2) Where the idols were 
cast down, figures of the cross were set up in their places. These 
martyrs suffered in the year 392. See Theodoret, Rufinus, 
Socrates, Sozomen, Fleury, b. 19. Tillemont in the history of 
Theodosius, art. 52 — 55. 


He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrim, but a faithful disciple 
of Jesus. It was no small proof of his great piety, that, though 
he had riches and honours to lose, he feared not the malice of 
men, but at a time when the apostles trembled, boldly declared 
himself a follower of Jesus who was crucified ; and with the greatest 
devotion embalmed and buried his sacred body. This saint was 
the patron of Glastonbury, where a church and hermitage, very 
famous in the times of the ancient Britons,* were built by the first 
apostles of this island : among whom some modems have placed 
St. Joseph himself, and Aristobulus. 

(1) B. 5. c. 22. (3) lb. 2. c. 25. 

• See Matthew of Westminster, and John of Glastenbnry, in their histo- 
ries of that famous abbey, published by Heame ; also Tanner's Notitis 

168 ST. GEUTBUDE, V. [MAKCH 17. 



She was daughter of Pepin, of Laoden, mayor of the palace to 
the French Rings of Austrasia, and younger sister to St. Begga. 
She was born in 626. Her father's virtuous palace was the 
sanctuary of her innocence, and the school of her tender piety. 
Being pressed to marry, she declared in presence of King Dago- 
bert : " I have chosen for my spouse him, from whose eternal 
beauty all creatures derive their glory, whose riches are immense, 
and whom the angels adore." The king admired her gravity and 
wisdom in so tender an age, and would not suffer her to be any 
more disturbed on that account. Her mother, the blessed Itta, 
employed St. Amand to direct the building of a great nunnery at 
Nivelle, in Brabant, for Gertrude. It is now a double chapter of 
canons and canonesses. The virgin was appointed abbess, when 
only twenty years of age. Her mother, the blessed Itta, lived 
five years under her conduct, and died in the twelfth year of her 
widowhood, in 652. She is honoured in the Belgic Martyrologies 
on the 8th of May. Gertrude governed her monastery with a 
prudence, zeal, and virtue that astonished the most advanced in 
years and experience. She loved extreme holy poverty in her 
person and house ; but enriched the poor. By assiduous prayer 
and holy meditation she obtained wonderful lights from heaven. 
At thirty years of age, she resigned her abbey to her niece Wil- 
fetrude, and spent the three years which she survived, in preparing 
her soul for her passage to eternity, which happened on the 17th 
of March, in 659. Her festival is a holyday at Louvain, and 
throughout the duchy of Brabant. It is mentioned in the true 
Martyrology of Bede, &c. See her life written by one who was 
present at her funeral, and an eye-witness to the miracles, of 
which there is an account in Mabillon, and the Acts of the Saints. 
See also Rivet, Hist. Liter, t. 4. p. 39. An anonymous author 
much enlarged this life in the tenth century, but the additions are 
of small authority. This work was printed by Ryckel, abbot of 
St. Gertrude's, at Louvain, in 1632. See Hist. Liter, t. 6. p. 292. 
Also La Yie de S. Gertrude, abbesse de Nivelle, par Gul. Des- 
coBuvres, in l2mo. at Paris, Ann. 1612. Consult likewise Dom 
Bouquet, Recueil dea Hist, de France, t. 2. p. 603, &c. 

MAECH 18.] ST. ALEXANDER, B. M. 169 



From St. Jerom, Catal. c. 62. Euseb. Hist. b. 6. c. 8. 10. 14. 20. See 
Tillemont, t. 3. p. 415. and Le Quien, Oriens Christ, t. 3. p. 150. 

A.D. 251. 

St. Alexander studied with Origen in the great Christian school 
of Alexandria, under St. Pantenua and his successor, St. Clement, 
He was chosen bishop of a certain city in Cappadocia. In the 
persecution of SSeverus, in 204, he made a glorious confession of 
bis faith, and though he did not then seal it with his blood, he 
suffered several years' imprisonment, till the beginning of the 
reign of Caracalla, in 211, when he wrote to congratulate the 
church of Antioch upon the election of St. Asclepias, a glorious 
confessor of Christ, to that patriarchate ; the news of which, he 
says, had softened and made light the irons with which he was 
loaded. He sent that letter by the priest St. Clement of Alex- 
andria, a man of great virtue, whom God had sent into Cappadocia 
to instruct and govern his people, during his confinement. 

St. Alexander being enlarged soon after, in 212, was commanded 
by a revelation from God, to go to Jerusalem to visit the holy 
places.(l) The night before his arrival. Saint Narcissus, bishop 
of Jerusalem, and some other saints of that church, had a reve- 
lation, in which they heard a distinct voice commanding them to 
go out of the city, and take for bishop him whom God sent them, 
St. Narcissus was then very old and decrepit : he and his flock 
seized Alexander, and by the consent of all the bishops of Pales- 
tine, assembled in a council, made him his coadjutor and joint 
bishop of Jerusalem. SS. Narcissus and Alexander still governed 
this church together, when the latter wrote thus to the Anti- 
noits : " I salute you in the name of Narcissus, who held here 
the place of bishop before me, and, being above one hundred 
and sixteen years old, is now united with me by prayer. He 
conjures you with me to live in inviolable peace and union." St. 
Alexander collected at Jerusalem a great library, consisting of 
the writings and letters of eminent men, which subsisted when 

(1) £u8. b. 6. c. 14. S. Hieron. in Catal. 

170 ST. ALEXAKDEBy B. M. [MaBCH 18. 

Easebius wrote. He excelled all other holy prelates and apostolie 
men in mildness and in the sweetness of hisdiscourses, asOrigen 
testifies. Saint Alexander was seized by the persecutors under 
Decius^ confessed Christ a second time, and died in chains at 
Caesarea, about the end of the year 251, as Eusebius testifies. 
He is styled a martyr by St. Epiphanius, St. Jerom, and the 
Martyrologies, and honoured in the Roman Martyrology on the 
18th of March ; by the Greeks on the 16th of May and the 22nd 
of December. 

A pastor must first acquire a solid degree of interior virtue, 
before he can safely undertake to labour in procuring the 
salvation of others, or employ himself in exterior functions of 
the ministry. He must have mortified the deeds of the flesh 
by compunction, and the habitual practice of self-denial ; and 
the fruits of the spirit must daily more and more perfectly 
subdue his passions. These fruits of the spirit are chanty and 
humility, which stifle all the motions of anger, envy, and pride : 
holy joy, which banishes carnal sadness, sloth, and all disrelish 
in spiritual exercises ; peace which crushes the seeds of discord, 
and the love and relish of heavenly things, which extinguish the 
love of earthly goods and sensual pleasures. One whose soul is 
slothful, sensual, and earthly, deserves not to bear the name of 
a Christian, much less of a minister of the gospel. There 
never was a saint who did not carry his cross, and walk in the 
steps of Christ crucified. St. Alexander would have thought a 
day lost in which he did not add something to the sacrifice of his 
penance in order to continue and complete it. By this he 
prepared himself to die a victim of fidelity and charity. This is 
the continued martyrdom by which every true Christian ear- 
nestly labours to render himself every day more and more 
pleasing to God, making his body a pure holocaust to him by 
mortification, and his soul by the fervour of his charity and 




From the church historians, and his works collected by Dom Toutt^e in his 
excellent edition of them at Paris, in 1 720. 

A.D. 386. 

Cyril was born at, or near the city of Jerusalem, about tbe 
year 316. So perfectly was he versed in the holy scriptures, 
that many of his discourses, and some of these pronounced 
extempore, are only passages of the sacred writings connected 
and interwoven with each other. He had read diligently both 
the fathers and the piigan philosophers. Maximus, bishop of 
Jerusalem, ordained him priest about the year 345, and soon 
after appointed him his preacher to the people, likewise his 
catechist to instruct and prepare the catechumens for baptism ; 
thus committing to his care the two principal functions of his 
own pastoral charge. St. Cyril mentions his sermons to the 
faithfbl every Snnday.(l) Catechnmens ordinarily remained 
two years in the course of instruction and prayer, and were 
not admitted to baptism till they had given proof of their 
morals and conduct, as well as of their constancy in the faith.(2) 
This office St. Cyril performed for several years ; but we have 
only the course of his catechetical sermons for the year 348, or 
347. Perhaps, the others were never committed to writing. He 
succeeded Maximus in the see of Jerusalem about the end of the 
year 350. 

The beginning of his episcopacy was remarkable for a prodigy 
by which God was pleased to honour the instrument of our re- 
demption. It is related by Socrates,(3) Philostorgius,(4) the 
chronicle of Alexandria, &c. St. Cyril, an eye-witness, wrote 
immediately to the emperor Constantius, an exact account of this 
miraculous phenomenon : and his letter is quoted as a voucher for 
it by Sozomen,(5) Theophanes,(6) Eutychius,(7) John of Nice,(8) 
Glycas, and others. Dr. Cave has inserted it at length in hit 
life of St. Cyril.(9) The relation he there gives of the mirade 

(1) Cat 5. 10. 14. (3) See Fleury Mceurs des Chr^ttenf , p. 42. 

(3) B. i. e. 28. (4) lb. 3. c. 26. 

(6) lb. 6. 0. 6. (6) Ad. an. 353. 

(7) Annal. p. 475. '8) Auot&r. Combeiis. t 2. p. 388. 
([9) T. 2. p. 344. 


is as follows : ** On the nones (or 7th) of May, about the third 
hour (or nine in the morning) a vast luminous bodjj in the form 
of a cross, appeared in the heavens, just over the holy Golgotha, 
reaching as far as the holy mount of Olivet, (that is, almost two 
English miles in length,) seen not by one or two persons, but 
clearly and evidently by the whole city. This was not, as may be 
thought, a momentary transient phenomenon : for it eontinut^d 
several hours together visible to our eyes, and brighter than the 
sun ; the light of which would have eclipsed it, had not this been 
stronger. The whole city, struck with a reverential fear, tem- 
pered with joy, ran immediately to the church, young; and old, 
Christians and heathens, citizens and strangers, all with one 
voice giving praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of 
God, the worker of miracles ; finding by experience the truth 
of the Christian doctrine, to which the heavens bear witness/' 
He concludes his letter with wishes that the emptror may 
always glorify the holy and consubstantial Trinity.* Philostor- 
gius and the Alexandrian chronicle affirm, that this croi^s of 
light was encircled with a large rainbow.f The Greek church 
commemorates this miracle on the 7th of May. 

Some time after this memorable event, a difference hap- 
pened between our saint and Acacius, archbishop of Csc^ait^a, 
first a warm Semi-Arian, afterwards a thorough Arian. It 
began on the subject of metropolitical jurisdiction, which Acacius 
unjustly claimed over the church of Jerusalem ; and what 
widened the breach between them was their differ e nee of senti- 
ments with regard to the consubstantiality of the ^on^ which 

• Ti)v Ofiosaiov Tpidda, This is an argument of his firm adherence to 
^e Nicene faith, and that by the praises which he bestows on an Ariun 
emperor in this piece, he meant not to flatter him in his hett^rodox sentiments ; 
they being only compliments of course in an address to an eaatern emperor, 
and his own sovereign. 

t Certain moderns imagine that the luminous crosses which appeared in 
the air in the reigns of Constantine and Cons tan tins, were merely nataroi 
solar halos ; and that under Jolian, which appeared in the night, a lunar halo, 
or circle of colours, usually red, round those celestial bodies. But in oppo* 
sition to this hypothesis we must observe, that those natural phenomena do 
not ordinarily appear in the figure of a cross, but of a ring or circle, as both 
experience and the natural cause show. We ought also to take notice, that 
this prodigy appeared thrice in the same century, and always on extraordumry 
occasions, in wnich many circumstances rendered a miraculous manifestation 
of the divine power highly credible. Moreover^ how will these s^retariea 
and confidents of the intrigues of nature, as Mr. Warhnrton styles them, 
account for the inscription, In this conquer^ which waa formed in bright 


St. Cyril had always most zealously asserted.* This was 
sufficient to render him odious in the eyes of Acacius^ who 
in a council of Arian bishops, convened by him, declared 
St. Cyril deposed for not appearing, after two years warning, 
to answer to the crimes alleged against him. One of them 
was, that he had lavished away the goods of the Church, and 
had applied its sacred ornaments to profane uses. The ground 
of the accusation was, that, in time of a great famine at Jerusa- 
lem, he had sold some of the Church plate, and precious stuffs 
to relieve the wants of the poor. St. Cyril, not looking upon 
the members of the council as qualiiied judges, appealed to 
higher power8,(l) but yielding to violence withdrew to Antioch, 
and thence removed to Tarsus, where he was honourably enter- 
tained by the bishop Sylvanus, and had in great respect, not- 
withstanding the sentence of Acacius and his council against 
him. Here living in communion with Sylvanus, Eustathius of 
Sebaste, Basil of Ancyra, and others, who soon appeared at 
the head of the Semi-Arian faction, this gave rise to the 
calumny that St. Cyril himself had espoused it. But nothing 
could be more falsely alleged against him. he having always 

(1) Sozom. b. 4. c. 24. 

letters round the cross, which appeared in the air to Constantino and his 
whole army, as that emperor himself affirmed upon oath, and as Eosebius 
assures as ftom his testimony, and that of other eye-witnesses. (1. 1. de Vit. 
Const, c. 28.olim22.) Fabricius very absurdly pretends tbatypa0i}y may here 
signify an emblem, not an inscription. Mr. tfortin. after taking much pains 
on this subject, is obliged to confess (vol. 3. p. 6) that, << After all, it seems 
more natural to interpret ypapi)v \syov<rav of a writing than of a picture. 
It is an ugly circumstance," says this author, " and I wish we could fairly 
get rid of it." Those who can explain the scripture account of the passage 
of the Israelites through the Red Sea by a natural strong wind, and an extra- 
ordinary ebbing of the waters, can iind no knot too hard for tliem. To deny 
a supernatural interposition they can swallow contradictions, and build 
hypothesis far more wonderful &aii the greatest miracles. 

* Sozomen indeed says, (b. 4. c. 24.) that Acacius fought for Arianism, 
Cyril for Semi- A rianism : but this is altogether a mistaie. For Acacius 
himself was at that time a Semi-Arian, and in 341^ in the council of Antioch, 
affirmed Christ to be like, though not equal, to his Father. It was onlir in 
358f that he closed in with Euaoxius, and the other ri^id Arians. And as 
to St Cyril, it is also clear from the facts above mentioned, and from his 
writings, that he always professed the Catholic faith, with regard to the 
article of the Consubstantiality of the Son of God. This is demonstrated by 
Dom Touttee, in his life of St. Cyril, and by his colleague Dom Maran, in 
his dissertation on the Semi-Arians, printed at Paris, in 1721, to vindicate 
this father against a certain author in the memoirs of Trevoux, an. 1721. 


maintained the Catholic faith. He had accordingly, in 349, 
together with his predecessor Maxim as, received the decrees 
of the council of Sardica, and consequently those of Nice. 
&nd we have already seen, in bis letter to Constantius, that he 
made an undaunted profession of the Consubstantial Trinity. 
To which we may add, that in the council of Constantinople, 
in 381, he joined with the other bishops in condemning the Semi- 
Arians and Macedonians. And the orthodox bishops as- 
sembled in the same city, in 382, writing to Pope Damasus and 
to the western bishops, gave a most ample testimony to his 
faith, declaring, ** That the most reverend and beloved of God, 
Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, had been canonicaUy elected by the 
bishops of the province, and had suffered many persecutions for 
the faith."(l) Upon the death of Constantius, in 361, Julian 
the apostate, partly out of aversion to his uncle, and partly m 
hopes to see the Christian sects and the orthodox more at variance, 
suffered all the banished bishops to return to their churches. 
Thus did God make use of the malice of his enemy to restore 
St. Cyril to his see. He shortly after made him an eye-witness to 
the miraculous manifestation of his power, by which he covered 
his blaspheming enemies with confusion. The following most 
authentic history of that remarkable event is gathered from the 
original records, and vindicated against the exceptions of certain 
sceptics by Tillemont,(2) and by our most learned Mr. Warbnr- 
ton in his Julian. 

In vain had the most furious tyrants exerted the utmost 
cruelty, and bent the whole power which the empire of the world 
put into their hands to extirpate, if it had been possible, the 
Christian name. The faith increased under axes, and the blood 
of martyrs was a fruitful seed, which multiplied the Church over 
all nations. The experience of how weak and ineffectual a means 
brute force was to this purpose, moved the emperor Julian, the 
most implacable, the most crafty, and the most dangerous in- 
strument which the devil ever employed in that design, to shift 
his ground, and change his artillery and manner of assault. 
He affected a show of great moderation, and in words disclaimed 
open persecution; but he sought by every foul and indirect 
means to undermine the faith, and sap the foundations of the 
Christian religion. For this purpose he had recourse to every 

(1) Apud Theod. Hist. b. 5. c. 9. (2) Tillem. t. 7. P. 409« 


March 18.] st. ctril of Jerusalem, b. c. 175 

base art of falsehood and dissimulation, in which he was the 
most complete master. He had played off the round of his 
machines to no purpose, and seemed reduced to this last ex- 
pedient of the pacific kind, the discrediting the Christian religion 
by bringing the scandal of imposture upon its divine author. 
This he attempted to do by a project of rebuilding the Jewish 
temple, which, if he could have compassed, it would have suf- 
ficiently answered his wicked design ; Christ and the prophet 
Daniel having in express terms foretold not only its destruction, 
which was effected by the Romans under Titus, but its final ruin 
and desolation. 

The Jewish religion was a temporary dispensation, intended 
by its divine author, God himself, to prefigure one more com- 
plete and perfect, and prepare men to embrace it. It not only 
essentially required bloody sacrifices, but enjoined a fixed and 
certain place for them to be performed in ; this was the temple 
at Jerusalem. Hence, the final destruction of this temple was 
the abolition of the sacrifices, and annihilated the whole system 
of this religious institution. Whence St. Chrysostom (1) shows 
that the destruction of Jerusalem is to be ascribed, not to the 
power of the Romans, for God had often delivered it from no 
less dangers ; but to a special providence, which was pleased to 
put it out of the power of human perversity to delay or respite 
the extinction of those ceremonial observances. ** As a phy- 
sician," says that father, " by breaking the cup, prevents his 
patient from indulging his appetite in a noxious draught ; so God 
withheld the Jews from their sacrifices by destroying the whole 
city itself, and making the place inaccessible to all of them." 
St Gregory Nazianzen, Socrates, Theodoret, and other Chris- 
tian writers,^are unanimous in what they say of Julian's motive, 
ascribing to him the intention already mentioned, of falsifying 
tbe scripture prophecies, those of Daniel and Christ, which his 
actions sufficiently evidence. His historian, indeed, says, that 
he undertook this work out of a desire of rendering the glory of 
his reign immortal by so great an achievement :(2) but this was 
only an after- thought or secondary motive ; and Sozomen in 
particular assures us that not only Julian, but that the idolators 
who assisted in it, pushed it forward upon that very motive, and 
for the sake thereof suspended their aversion to the Jewish 

(1) Horn. 6. adv. Judse. t. 1. p. 646. ed. Ben. (2j Amm. Marcell. 1. 3. o. 1 


nation. Jalian himself wrote a letter to the hody or community 
of the Jews, extant among his works,(l) mentioned by Sozo- 
men,(2) and translated by Dr. Cave, in his life of St. Cyril. 
In it he declares them free irom all exactions and taxes, and 
orders Julus or Illas, (probably Hillel,) their most reverend 
patriarch, to abolish the apostoli, or gatherers of the said taxes ; 
begs their prayers, (such was his hypocrisy,) and promises, 
after his Persian expedition, when their temple should be rebuilt, 
to make Jerusalem his residence^ and to offer up his joint 
prayers together with them. 

After this he assembled the chief among the Jews, and asked 
them why they offered no bloody sacrifices, since they were pre- 
scribed by their law? They replied, that they could not offer any 
but in the temple, which then lay in ruins. Whereupon he 
commanded them to repair to Jerusalem, rebuild their temple, 
and re-establish their ancient worship, promising them his con- 
currence towards carrying on the work. The Jews received the 
warrant with inexpressible joy, and were so elated with it, that, 
flocking from all parts to Jerusalem, they began insolently to 
8corn and triumph over the Christians, threatening to make them 
feel as fatal effects of their severity, as they themselves had here- 
tofore from the Roman powers.* The news was no sooner spread 
abroad than contributions came in from all hands The Jewish 
women stript themselves of their most costly ornaments, to con- 
tribute towards the expense of the building. The emperor also, 
who was no less impatient to see it finished, in order to encou- 
rage them in the undertaking, told them he had found in their 
mysterious sacred books, that this was the time in which they 
were to return to their country, and that their temple and legal 
observances were to be restored. (3) He gave orders to his trea- 
surers to furnish money and everything necessary for the building, 
which would require immense sums : he drew together the most 
able workmen from all quarters, and appointed for overseers 
persons of the highest rank, placing at their head his intimate 

(1) Ep. 26. p. 162. (2) Soz. I. 6. c. 22. 

(3) Naz. Or. 4. adv. Julian. 

• .It was about this time that the Jews demolished the great church erf 
Alexandria, two more at Damascus, and others elsewhere. 



friend Alypius, who had formerly been Pro-prefect of Britain ; 
charging him to make them labour in this great work without 
ceasing, and to spare no expense. All things were in readiness, 
workmen were assembled from all quarters ; stone, brick, timber, 
and other materials, in immense quantities, were laid in. The 
Jews of both sexes and of all degrees bore a share in the labour; 
the very women helping to dig the ground, and carry out the 
rubbish in their aprons and skirts of their gowns. It is even said 
that the Jews appointed some pickaxes, spades, and baskets to 
be made of silver for the honour of the work. But the good 
bishop St. Cyril, lately returned from exile, beheld all these 
mighty preparations without any concern, relying on the 
infallible truth of the Scripture prophecies : as, that the deso- 
lation of the Jewish temple should last till the end;(l) and 
that one stone should not be left on another ;(2) and being full 
of the spirit of God, he foretold with the greatest confidence, that 
the Jews, so far from being able to rebuild their ruined temple, 
would be the instruments whereby that prophecy of Christ would 
be still more fully accomplished than it had been hitherto, and 
that they would not be able to put one stone upon another,(3) 
and the event justified the prediction. 

Till then the foundations and some ruins of the walls of the 
temple subsisted, as appears from St. Cyril :{4) and Eusebius 
says,(6) the inhabitants still carried away the stones for their 
privajte buildings. These ruins the Jews first demolished with 
their own hands, thus concurring to the accomplishment of our 
Saviour's prediction. Then they began to dig the new founda- 
tion, in which work many thousands were employed. But what 
they had thrown up in the day was, by repeated earthquakes, 
the night following cast back again into the trench. "And when 
Alypius the next day earnestly pressed on the work, with the 
assistance of the governor of the province, there issued," says 
Ammianus, ** such horrible balls of fire out of the earth near 
the foundations, (6) which rendered the place, from time to time, 
inaccessible to the scorched and blasted workmen. And the 
victorious element continuing in this manner obstinately and 
resolutely bent as it were to drive them to a distance, Alypius 

(1) Dan ix. 27. (2) Matt. xxiv. 2. 

(3) RufiD. Hist. 1. 10. c. 37. (4) Catech. 16. n. 16. 
(6) Dem. Evang. 1. 8. p. 406. (6) Out of the very fouDdations them- 
lelves, according to St. Cnrysostom, Sozomen, and Theodoret. 


thought proper to give over the enterprise."* This is also 
recorded by the Christian authors, who, besides the earthquakes 
and fiery eruption, mention storms, tempests, and whirlwinds, 
lightning, crosses impressed on the bodies and garments of the 
assistants, and a flaming cross in the heavens, surrounded with 
a luminous circle. The order whereof seems to have been as 
follows : this judgment of the Almighty was ushered in by storms 
and whirlwinds, by which prodigious heaps of lime and sand, 
and other loose materials were carried away."(l) After these 
followed lightning, the usual consequence of collision of clouds 
in tempests. Its effects were, first the destroying the more solid 
materials, and melting down the iron instruments ; (2) and 
secondly, the impressing shining crosses on the bodies and 
garments of the assistants without distinction, in which there 
was something that in art and elegance exceeded all painting 
or embroidery ; which when the infidels perceived, they 
endeavoured, but in vain, to wash them out.t In the third 
place came the earthquake, which cast out the stones of the old 
foundations, and shook the earth into the trench or cavity dug 
for the new ; besides overthrowing the adjoining buildings and 
porticos wherein were lodged great numbers of Jews designed 
for the work, who were all either crushed to death, or at least 
maimed or wounded. The number of the killed or hurt was 
.increased by the fiery eruption in the fourth place, attended 
both with storms and tempest above, and with an earthquake 
below.(3) From this eruption, many fled to a neighbouring 
church for shelter, but could not obtain entrance ; whether on 
account of its being closed by a secret invisible hand, as the 
fathers state the case, or at least by a special providence, through 
the entrance into the oratory being choked up by a frighted 
crowd, all pressing to be foremost. '*This, however," says 

(1) Theod. Hist. 1. 3. c. 30. (2) Soc. lib. 3. o. 20. 

(3) St. Greg. Naz, Or. 9. 

* Hocque modo elemento destinatiils repellente. Amm. Marcel. 1. xxiii. 
c. 1. A very emphatical expression in the mouth of a pagan. He seems by 
it to ascribe sense to the element, by which he discovers the finger of God 
visibly defeating the obstinacy of the undertaking, and a renewal of the 
eruption so often till it overcame the rashness of the most obstinate. 

t St. Greg. Naz. Or. 4. adv. Julian. Theodoret indeed says that these 
crosHes were shaded with a dark colour: but this without any real contradic- 
tion to St. Gregory's relation of the matter, because, like the phosphorus, 
they were of a darkish hue by day, and lucid by night. 

March 18.] st. ctbil of Jerusalem, b. a 179 

St. Gregory Nazianzen,(l) ''is invariably affirmed and believed 
by all, that as they strove to force their way in by violence, the 
JFire^ which burst from the foundations of the temple, met and 
stopt them, and one part it burnt and destroyed, and another it 
desperately maimed, leaving them a living monument of God's 
conmiination and wrath against sinners." This eruption was 
frequently renewed till it overcame the rashness of the most 
obdurate, to use the words of Socrates ; for it continued to be 
repeated as often as the projectors ventured to renew their 
attempt, till it had fairly tired them out. Lastly, on the same 
evening there appeared over Jerusalem a lucid cross, shining 
very bright, as large as that in the reign of Constantine, encom- 
passed with a circle of light. '' And what could be so proper to 
close this tremendous scene, or to celebrate this decisive victory, 
as the Cross triumphant, encircled with the Heroic symbol of 
conquest ?" 

This miraculous event, with all its circumstances, is related 
by the writers of that age ; by St. Gregory Nazianzen in the 
year immediately following it ; by St. Chrysostom, in several 
parts of his works, who says that it happened not twenty years 
before, appeals to eye-witnesses still living and young, and to the 
present condition of those foundations, " of which," says he, 
"we are all witnesses;" by St. Ambrose in his fortieth epistle, 
written in 388 ; Rufinus, who had long lived upon the spot ; 
Theodoret, who lived in the neighbourhood in Syria; Philos- 
torgius, the Arian ; Sozomen, who says many were alive when 
he wrote who had it from eye-i^dtnesses, and mentions the 
visible marks still subsisting ; Socrates, &c. The testimony of 
the heathens corroborate this evidence ; as that of Ammianus 
Marcellinus above quoted, a nobleman of the first rank, who 
then lived in the court of Julian at Antioch and in an office of 
distinction, and who probably wrote his account from the 
letter of Alypius to his master at the time when the miracle 
happened. Libanus, another pagan friend and admirer of 
Julian, both in the history of his own life, and in his funeral 
oration on Julian's death, mentions these earthquakes in Pales- 
tine, but with a shyness which discovers the disgrace of his 
hero and superstition. Julian himself speaks of this event in 
the same covert manner. Socrates testifies, that, at the sight 

(I) Or 4, adv. Julian. 



of the miracles, the Jews at first cried out that Christ is God ; 
yet returned home as hardened as ever. St Gregory Nazian- 
zen, says, that many Gentiles were converted upon it, and 
went over to the Church. Theodoret and Sozomen say many 
were converted ; but as to the Jews, they evidently mean a 
sudden flash of conviction, not a real and lasting conversion. 
The incredulous blinded themselves by various pretences : but 
the evidence of the miracle leaves no room for the least cavil or 
suspicion. The Christian writers of that age are unanimous in 
relating it with its complicated circumstances, yet with a diver- 
sity which shows their agreement, though perfect, could not 
have been concerted. The same is confirmed by the testimony 
of the most obstinate adversaries. They, who, when the temple 
of Daphne was consumed about the same time, by lightning, 
pretended that it was set on Are by Christians, were not able to 
suspect any possibility of contrivance in this case : uor could 
the event have been natural. Every such suspicion is removed 
by the conformity of the event with the prophecies : the impor- 
tance of the occasion, the extreme eagerness of Jews and Gentiles 
in the enterprise, the attention of the whole empire fixed on it, 
and the circumstances of the fact. The eruption, contrary to 
its usual nature, was confined to one small spot; it obstinately 
broke out by fits, and ceased with the project, and this in such 
a manner, that Ammianus himself ascribes it to an intelligent 
cause. The phenomena of the cross in the air, and on the 
garments, were admirably fitted, as moral emblems, to proclaim 
the triumph of Christ over Julian, who had taken the cross out 
of the military ensigns, which Constantino had put there to be 
a lasting memorial of that cross which he had seen in the air 
that presaged his victories. The same was again erected in the 
heavens to confound the vanity of its impotent persecutor. The 
earthquake was undoubtedly miraculous ; and though its effects 
were mostly such as might naturally follow, they were directed 
by a special supernatural providence, as the burning of Sodom 
by fire from heaven. Whence Mr. Warburton concludes his 
dissertation on this subject with the following corrolary. " New 
light continually springing up from each circumstance as it 
passes in review, by such time as the whole event is considered, 
this illustrious miracle comes out in one full blaze of evidence."* 

• This learned author demonstrates, lih. 2. ch, 4. that the exceptions of 
Mr. Ba^nage are founded on glaring mistakes and misrepresentations of hia 

March 18.] sr. cteil of Jerusalem, b. c. 181 

Even Jewish Rabbins, who do not copy from Christian writers, 
relate this event in the same manner with the fathers from their 
own traditions and records. (1) This great event happened in 
the beginning of the year 363. St. Chrysostom admires the 
wonderful conduct of divine providence in this prodigy, and 
observes, that had not the Jews set about to rebuild their 
temple, they might have pretended they could have done it 
therefore did God permit them thrice to attempt it , once under 
Adrian, when they brought a greater desolation upon themselves ; 
a second time under Constantine the Great, who dispersed them, 
cut off their ears, and branded their bodies with the marks of 
rebellion. H£ then relates this third attempt, "in our own 
time, " as he says, " not above twenty years ago, in which God 
himself visibly baffled their endeavours, to show that no human 
power could reverse his decree ; and this at a time when our 
religion was oppressed, lay under the axes, and had not the 
liberty even to speak ; that impudence itself might not have the 
least shadow of pretence." 

St. Cyril adored the divine power in this miracle, of which he 
had occular demonstration. Orosius says that Julian had des^ 
tined him to slaughter after his Persian expedition, but the 
death of the tyrant prevented his martyrdom. He was again 
driven from his see by the Arian emperor, Valens, in 36T, but 
recovered it in 378, when Gratian, mounting the throne, com- 
manded the churches to be restored to those who were in 
communion with Pope Damasus. He found his flock miserably 
divided by heresies and schisms under the late wolves to whom 
they had fallen a prey : but he continued his labours and tears 
among them. In 381 he assisted at the general council of 
Constantinople, in which he condemned the Semi-Arians and 
Macedonians, whose heresy he had always opposed, though he 
had sometimes joined their prelates against the Arians before 
their separation from the Church, as we have seen above ; and 
as St. Hilary, St. Meletius, and many others had done. He 
had governed his church eight years in peace from the death of 
Valens, when, in 386, he passed to a glorious immortality, in 
the seventieth year of his age. He is honoured by the Greeks 
and Latins on this day, which was that of his death. 

(!' See Warbarton, p. 88. 





St. Maxim us, lushop of Jerasalem, having appointed St Cyril both hi» 
preacher and his catecoist, our saii^t diligently acouitted himself of bath these 
fimctioDS, the moAt important of the episcopal charge. SL Cyril mentions 
his lermoDS which he made to the people erery Sunday. (Cat. 5. 10. 14.) 
One of these is extant in the new eaition of his works. It is a moral dis- 
ooarse against sin, as the source of all our miseries, drawn from the gospel 
upon the sick man healed at the Probatio pond. (John v.) He preached 
every year a coarse of catechetical sermons ror the instruction of the cate- 
chumens, to prepare them for baptism and the holy communion. Only those 
which he preached in 347, or ratber in 348, seem to have been committed to 
writing. These consist of eighteen to the competentes, or lUuminati, that 
is, catechumens before baptism ; and of five mystagogic catechetical dis- 
courses, so called either because they were addressed to the catechumens 
immediately after they were initiated in the holy mysteries of Baptism, Con- 
iSrmation, and the Eucharist, or becanse these sacraments are fbliy explained 
in them, which were never expounded to those who were not initiated, out of 
respect, and for fear of giving occasion to their profanation by the blasphe- 
mies of infidels. In the first eighteen, St. Cyril explains the doctrine oi the 
Church concerninff the pardon of sin, grayer, and all the articles of the 
Apostles' Creed. The style is clear, suitable to an exposition of doctrine, 
such as is here given, and the work is one of the most important of Christian 
antiquity. The Latin translation of Grodeoius, canon of Warmia in Poland, 
printed first in 1563, though often corrected, was very inaccurate ; and the 
Greek editions very incorrect and imperfect, before that given by Thomas 
Milles at Oxford, in 1703, which is very valuable, though the author in part 
of his notes, where he endeavours to maintain the principles of the Protestant 
Church, is very inconsistent. Dom Toutt^, a Maurist monk, who died in 
1718. prepared an excellent and complete edition of the works of St Cyril; 
whicn was published by Dom Maran, in 1720, in one volume in folio. The 
journalists of Trevoux, in their memoirs for December, in 1721, criticised 
some of the notes concerning the Semi-Arians, and the temporary neutrality 
of St. Cyril. Dom Maran answered them by a learned and carious disser- 
tation, Sur le Semi-Ariens, printed by Vincent, in 1722. 

Three French Calvinists, Aubertin, Rivet, (Critici Sacri, 1. 3. c. 8, 9, 10, 
and 1 1.) and the apostate Casimir Oadin, (De Scr. Eccl. 1. 1. p. 469,) deny 
these catechesis, at least the roystagogics, to be the work of St. Cyril. Oudin 
to his usual inaccuracy adds many affected blunders, and shows a dread of 
his unanswerable authority in favour of many articles which he was unwilling 
to allow, was his chief motive for raising such a contest about the author ; 
though if this was not St. Cyril, these critics must confess from six hundred 
passages in the discourses, that they were delivered at Jerusalem, about the 
middle of the fourth century. Other Protestants, esnecially the English, are 
more sincere, and prove them this father's most unaoubted work, as Doctor 
Cave, in St Cyril's life, Thomas Milles, in his preface and notes to his 
edition of St Cyril, Whittaker, Vossius, Bull, &c. They were preached at 
Jerusalem, seventy years after Manes broached his heresy, whom some then 
alive had seen, (Cat. 6.) which agrees only to the year 347. They are men- 
tioned by St. Jerom, in the same age, (Catal. c. 112.) quoted by Theodoret 
(Dial. Inconfusus, p. 106.) and innumerable other fathers in every age dowa- 

March 18.] st. cyril op Jerusalem. 1S3 

wards. As for the five mystagogics, they are inseparable from the rest, and 
as undoubted. The author promises them in his eighteenth, and mentions 
his first eighteen in the first mystagogic. (n. 9.) They are quoted by 
Eustrasius, (under Justinian,) by Anastius the Sinaite, Nico the monk, and 
other ancients produced by Dom Touttee. (Diss. 2. p. cv.) 

In his first catechetio instructions, he commands the catechumens not to 
divulge any part of our mysteries to any infidel, as unworthy, and exhorts 
them to the dispositions and preparation for holy baptism, viz,^ to a pure 
intention, assiduity in prayer, and at church, devoutly receiving the exorcisms, 
fasting, sincere repentance, confessing their sins, whatever they had com- 
mitted. (Catech. 1. n. 6.) In the fourth he sives a summary of tie Christian 
faith, and reckons up the canonical books of scripture, in which he omits the 
Apocalypse, and some of the deutero-canonical books, though he quotes these 
in other places as God's word. In the following discourses he explains very 
distinctly and clearly every article of our Creed : he teaches Christ's descent 
into the subterraneous dungeons (eig ra KaraxOovia) to deliver the ancient 
just. (Cat. 4. n. 11. p. 67.) The porters of hell stood astonished to behold 
their conqueror, and fled : the prophets and saints, with Mottes, Abraham, 
David, &c., met him, now redeemed by him. (Cat. 14. n. 19. p. 214.) He 
extols exceedingly the state of virginity as equal to that of the angels. (Cat. 
4. n. 24. Cat. 12. n. 33, 34.) He says it will, in the day of judgment, 
in the list of good works, carry off the first crowns. (Cat. 16. n. 23.) He 
compares it to gold, and marriage, which is yet good and honourable, to 
silver ; but prescribes times of continency to married persons for prayer. (Cat. 
4. n. 26.) He calls Lent the greatest time of fasting and penance, but says, 
^^ Thou dost not abstain from wine and fiesh as baid in themselves, as tlie 
Manichees, for so thou wilt have no reward: but thou retrenchest them, 
good indeed in themselves, for better spiritual recompenses, which are pro- 
mised." (Cat. 4. n. 27.) He mentions the fasts and watchiugs of superpo- 
sition, I. e. of holy week before Easter, as most austere. (Cat. 18.) He 
expresses on all occasions the tenderest devotion to the holy cross of Christ, 
and a great confidence in it, with which he endeavours also to inspire others. 
** LefUs not be ashamed of the cross of Christ," says he : ** sign it openly on 
thy forehead, that the devils, seeing the royal standard, may fly far trembling ; 
make this sign when thou eatest or drinkest, sittest, liest, risest, speakest, 
walkest, in a word, in every action iv iravTi irpayfiari.^^ (Cat 4. p. 68.) And 
again, *' when thou art going to dispute against an infidel, make with thy 
hand the sign of the cross, and thy adversary will be struck dumb ; be not 
ashamed to confess the cross. The angels glory in it, saying, Whom do you 
neek ? Jesus the crucified. Mat. xxviii. 6. You could have said, O Angel, 
My Lord : but the cross is his crown." (Cat. 13. n. 22. p. 194.) St. Por- 
liyry of Gaza, instructed by St. Cyril's successor, John, following this rule, 
y beginning a disputation with a famous Manichean woman, struck her 
miraculously dumb. St. Cyril, in his thirteenth Catechesis, thus addresses 
bis catechumen : (n. 36. p. 200.) " Be careful to form with your finger on 
Tour forehead boldly, the sign of the cross for a signet and standard, and that 
before every thing ; whilst we eat our bread, or drink our cups, in coming in 
and going out, before sleep, and in rising, in walking, and in standing still." 
He testihes, in his tenth catechesis, (n. 19.) that the holy wood of the cross 
kept at Jerusalem, had in the few years since its invention by St. Helena, 
already filled the whole world, being carried every where by those who, full 
of devotion, cut off little chips, (p. 146.) We learn from Rufin, (Hist. b. 1. 
c. 10.) that the holy cross was covered by St. Helena with a silver case ; and 
from S. Paulinus. (Ep. 31. n. 6.) that it was kept in an inner treasury in the 
church into whicn the passage lay through a portico or gallery, as appears 
from the Spiritual Meadow. (C. 105.) A lamp burned before the cross, by 
tl«e oil whereof St. Sabas and St. Cyriacus wrought many miracles, as wo 




read in their lives. A priest was appointed by the bishop t-* be the guardian 
of this sacred treasury, which honour was conferred on St. Porphyry of Gaza, 
soon after St. Cyril's death ; and then the case g^ the cross was of gold. St 
Paulinus says, it was exposed to the public veneration of the people once a 
year at Easter, which some think to have been on Good Friday. St. Sophro- 
uins of Jerusalemi (Or. 1.) besides other days, in his time, says it was on 
Easier Monday. At extraordinary times the bishop gave leave for it to be 
shown to pilgrims to be venerated, and for them to cut off small chips, by 
which, miraculously, the cross never diminished, as St. Paulinus wrote seventy 
years after its invention. The devotion of St. Cyril to the holy cross, was 
doubtless more inflamed by the sacred place in which he made all his sermons, 
which was the church built by St. Helena and Constantine, sometinaes called 
of the Holy Cross, which was kept in it; sometimes of the Resurrection, 
because it contained in it the sepulchre, out of which Christ arose from deatli. 
It is curiously described as it stood, before it was destroyed by the Saracens, 
in 1011, by Dom Toutt^, in a particular dissertation at the end of St. CyriPs 
works, (p. 423.) It was since rebuilt, but not exacdv in the same place. 

St. Cyril inculcates also an honour due to the relics of saints, which he 
proves (Cat. 17. n. 30. 31.) from the Holy Ghost performing miracles by the 
nandkerchiefr of St. Paul, how much more by the saints' ladies P This he 
shows (Cat. 18. n. 16. p. 293.) by the man raised to life by touching the 
body of EliseuB. (4 Reg. xiii. 21.) He gives the Blessed Virgin the title of 
Mother of God, QiorhKOQ (Cat 10. n. 19. p. 146.) He is very clear in ex- 
plaining the eternity and consubstantiaiit; of God the Son, (Cat. 4. 10, II, 
15.) which would alone justify him from all suspicion of Semi- A nanism. H e 
iM no less explicit against the Macedonians, on the divinity of the Holy Ghost. 
On that article: I' believe in the Holy Ghosts "Believe of him," says he, 
" the same as of the Father and of the Sou" &c. (Cat 4. n. 16. p. 59, 60 ) 
On the article of the holy Catholic Church, he observes, that the very name 
of Catholic distinguishes it from all heresies, which labour in vain to usurp 
it ; this alwavs remains proper to the spouse of Christ, as we see, if a stranger 
ask in any city. Where is the Catholic Church P (Cat 18. n. 26.) That it in 
catholic, or universal, because spread over the whole world from one end to 
the other ; and because universally and without failing or error, icadoXu:d>c toa 
aviXXeiirwCff it teaches all truths of tnings visible and invisible, (ib. n. 23. p. 
296.) which he proves from Matt. x^i. 18. The gates of hell shall never 
prevail against it, 1 Tim. iii. 16. It is the pillar and ground of truth. 
Malach. i. 11. From the rising of the sun to the setting, my name is 
glorified. He is very earnest in admonishing, that no book is to be received 
as divine, but by the authority of the Church, and by tradition from tJie 
apostles, and the ancient bishops, the rulers of the Church. (Cat 4. n. 2.^. 
36, 36.) By the same channel of the tradition of the Church, he teaches the 
sign of the cross, the honouring of that holy wood of our Saviour's sepulchre, 
and of saints' relics, exorcisms, and their virtue, insufllations, oil sanctified 
by exorcisms, (Cat 20.) holy chrism, (Cat 21.) blessing the baptismal water, 
(Cat 3.) prayers, and sacrifices for the dead, (Cat 23.) the perpetual virginity 
of the Virgin Mary, (Cat. 12.) &c. He made these eighteen oatecheses to 
the catechumens during Lent : the five following he spoke to them after they 
were baptized during Easter week, to instruct them perfectly in the mysteries 
of the three sacraments they had received toeether, baptism, confirmation, 
and the eucharist, which it was thought a profanation to explain fully to any 
before baptism. Hence these five are called mystagogic catecheses. As to 
baptism, St Cyril teaches (Procat n. 16. p. 12.) that it imprints an indelible 
signet, or spiritual character in the soul, which, he says, (Cat 1. n. 2.) is the 
mark by which we belong to Christ's flock : he adds, this is conferred by the 
rogeneration, by and in the lotion with water. (Cat 4 & 12. Cat 16. n. 24.) 
\W the character given by confirmation the signet of the communicatioa 

March 18.] st. cyril of Jerusalem. 185 

of the Holy GhoBt, (Cat. 18. n. 33.) and says (Cat. 22. n. .70 it is imprinted 
on the soul, whilst the forehead is anointed with chrism, (Cat. 22. n. 7.) and 
after hy baptism, (ib. n. 33.) by which he clearly distinguishes the characters 
of these two different sacraments, though Mr. Milles (not in Procat) has 
taken great pains to confound them. St. Cyril teaches that baptism perfectly 
remits all sin ; but penance, the remedy for sins after it, does not quite efface 
them, as wounds that are healed leave still scars. (Cat. 18. n. 20.) He attri- 
oates great virtae to the exorcisms for purifying the soul, (Procat. n. 9.) and 
says, as incantations give a diabolical virtue to defile the soul, so does the 
invocation of the Holy Ghost give a virtue to the water, and gives it the 
power to sanctify. (Cat. 3. n. 3.) He says the same of the blessed oil, (Cat. 
20. n. 3. p. 3.) and establishes clearly confirmation to be a distinct sacrament 
from baptism: he calls it the chrism and the mystical ointment, (Cat. 21.) 
and says it is to arm and fortify us against the enemies of our Salvation, (lb. 
p. 317. n* 4*) And that whilst the body i» anointed with this visible ointment, 
the soul is sanctified by the holy and life-giving spirit, (ib. n. 3.) In his 
nineteenth catechesis, the first mystagogic, he explains the force of the bap 
tismal renunciations of the devil and his pomps. In the twentieth, the other 
ceremonies of baptism, and what they mean ; in the twenty-first, the sacra- 
ment of confirmation ; in the twenty-second, that of the blessed eucharist ; 
in the twenty-third, or last, the liturgy or sacrifice of the mass and communion. 
As to the blessed eucharist, he says, by it we are made concorporeal und con- 
sanguined with Christ by his body and blood being distributed through our 
bodies, (Cat 22. n. 1. 3.) This same strong expression which wonderfully 
declares the strict union which is the effect of this sacrament, is used by St. 
Chrysostom, (Horn. 6. in Hebr. &c.) St. Isidore, of Pelusium, (1. 3. ep. 195.) 
St. Cyril, of Alexandria, (1. 10. in Joan. p. 862. dial, de Trin. p. 407.) &c. 
Our holy doctor explains to his neophytes the doctrine of transubstantiation 
in such plain terms, that no one can doubt of its being the faith of the Church 
in the fourth age. The learned Lutheran Pfaffius, (Dis. de oblatione Euchar. 
c. 38. p. 327.) owns it cannot be denied that this is CyriPs opinion. Grabe 
affirms the same, (not. in 1. 5. Ireneei, c. 2. p. 399.) This twenty-second 
catechesis alone puts it out of dispute. ** Do not look upon the bread and 
wine as bare and common elements, for they are the Body and Blood of Christ, 
as our Lord assures us. Although thy sense suggest this to thee, let faith 
make thee firm and sure. Judge not of the thing oy the taste, but be certain 
from faith that thou hast been honoured with the gift of Christ's Body and 
Blood. (Cat. 22. n. 6. n. 321.) When he has nronounced and said of the 
bread : * This is my boay,' who will, after this, aare to doubt P and when he 
Las assured and said, * This is my blood,' who can ever hesitate, saving it is 
not his blood? (n. 1. p. 32.) He changed water into wine, which is akin to 
blood, in Cana ; and shall we not think him worthy our belief, when he has 
changed inrataKKuv wine into blood ? (n. 2.) &o. Wherefore let us receive 
them with an entire belief as Christ's Body and Blood, for under the figure of 
bread i« given to thee his Body, and under the figure of wine his Blood, that 
when thou hast#eceived Christ's Body and Blood thou be made one body and 
blood with him : for so we carry him about in us, his Body and Blood being 
distributed through our bodies.'' (n. 3. p. 320.) We learn the manner of 
receiving the blessed sacrament from his Catech. 23. << Putting your left 
band under your right," says he, '* form a throne of your right hand to receive 
the king ; hold it hollow, receiving on it the Body of Christ. Answer, Amen. 
Carefully sanctify your eyes b^ touching them with the holy Body, being 
very watchful that no part of it fall. Approach to the cup of the Blood, 
bowed in a posture of adoration and reverence ; saying. Amen, take of the 
blood of Christ. Whilst yet something of the moisture sticks on your lips, 
touch them with your hand, and by applying it then to your eyes, forehead 
and other senses sanctify them.'* 

186 ST. EDWARD, K. M. [MARCH 18. 

In his twenty-third or last catechesiif, he calls the mass an unbloody 
sacrifice, a victim of propitiation, a supreme worship, &c. (n. 8. p. 327.) 
He explains the Preface, and the other principal parts of it, especially the 
Communion, and mentions the priest from the altar crying out to the 
faithfal, before they approached to receive, U ayia roiQ dy»o«c* He expounds 
the Lord's Prayer, and mentions the conunemorations for the livings and the 
dead. Of the latter he writes thus : (n. 9. p. 328.) " We also pray for 
the deceased holy fathers, bishops, and all in general who are dead, be- 
lie vins that this will be a great succour to those souls for whom prayer is 
offered, whilst the holy and most tremendous victim lies present." And, 
(n. 10. ib.) '* If a king, being offended at certain persons, had banished 
them, and their friends offer nim a rich garland for Uiem, will not he be 
moved to release them from punishment? In like manner we, offering prayers 
to God for the dead, though they be sinners, do not make a garland, but we offer 
Christ sacrificed for our sins, striving to appease and make our merciful 
God propitious both to them and to ourselves.'' This very passage is quoted 
out 01 St. Cyril, in the sixth century, by Eustratius, a priest of Constan- 
tinople, author of the life of the patriarch Eutychius, in his book on praying 
for ibe dead, or on the state of the dead, published by Leo Allatius, L De 
Consensu Eccl. Orient, et Occid. De Purgat. and in Bibl. Patr. t, 27. It 
is also cited by Nicon the monk, in his Pandect. 

St. Cyril's famous letter to Constantius, On the Apparition of the Cross 
in the Heavens, was written by him soon after he was raised to the episcopal 
dignity, either in the same year, 360, or in the following. 

A sermon, On the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, and 
the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, bears the name of St. Cyril of 
Jerusalem, in almost all the MSS. ; but the custom of carrying blessed 
caudles in procession that day mentioned in this discourse, was only intro- 
duced at Jerusalem at the suggestion of a devout lady named Icelia, about 
the middle of the fifth century, about sixty years after the death of St. Cyril. 
Other passages in this discourse seem clearly levelled against the heresy of 
Nestorius. The style is also more pompous and adorned than that of St. 
Cyril, nor abounds with parentheses like his. It is a beautiful, eloquent, 
and solid piece, and was probably composed by some priest of the church of 
Jerusalem, whose name was Cyril, about the sixth century, when either 
Sallust or Elias was patriarch. See Dom Touttee, and CeilUer, t. 6. p. 544. 


He was monarch of England, and succeeded his father, the 
glorious King Edgar, in 9T5, heing thirteen years old. He 
followed in all things the counsels of St. Dunstan ; and his 
ardour in the pursuit of all yirtues is not to he expressed. His 
great love of purity of mind and body, and his fervent devotion, 
rendered him the miracle of princes, whUst by his modesty, 
clemency, prudence, charity, and compassion to the poor, he 
was the blessing and the delight of his subjects. His step- 
mother, Elfrida, had attempted to set him aside that the crown 
might fall on her own son, Ethelred, then seven years old. 
Notwithstanding her treasonable practices, and the frequent 
proofs of her envy and jealousy, Edward always paid her the 

MaBCH 18.] ST. ANSELM, B. C. 187 

most dutiful respect and deference^ and treated his brotker with 
the most tender aflFection. But the fury of her ambition made 
her insensible to all motives of religion, nature, and gratitude. 
The young king had reigned three years and a half^ when being 
one day weary with hunting in a forest near Wareham, in 
Dorsetshire, he paid a visit to his step-mother at Corfesgeate, 
now Corfe-castle, in the isle of Purbeck, and desired to see his 
young brother, at the door. The treacherous queen caused a 
servant to stab him in the belly whilst he was stooping out of 
courtesy, after drinking. The king set spurs to his horse, but 
fell off dead, on the 18tk of March, 979, his bowels being 
ripped open so as to fall out. His body was plunged deep into a 
marsh, but discovered by a pillar of ligh*, and honoured by many 
miraculous cures of sick persons. It was taken up and buried 
in the church of our Lady, at Wareham ; but found entire in 
three years after, and translated to the monastery at Shaftea* 
bury. His lungs were kept at the village called Edwardstow, 
in 1001 : but the chief part of his remains were deposited at 
Wareham, as the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester 
say: but part was afterwards removed to Shaftesbury, not 
Gfastenbury, as Caxton mistakes. The long thin knife with 
which he was stabbed, was kept in the church of Favershamj 
before the suppression of the monasteries, as Hearne mention $). 
His name is placed in the Roman Martyrology. The impious 
Elfridft, being awaked by the stings of conscience, and by the 
voice of miracles, retired from the world, and built the monas- 
teries of Wherwell and Ambresbury, in ,the first of which she 
lived and died m the practice of penance. The reign of her son 
Ethelred was weak and unfortunate, and the source of the 
greatest miseries to the kingdom, especially from the Danes. 
See Malmesbury, Brompton, abbot of Jorvil, in Yorkshire, and 
Ranulf Higden, in his Polychronicon, published by Gale. Also 
an old MS. life of the saint, quoted by Hearne, on Langtofl's 
Chronicle, t. 2. p. 628. and from the MS. lives of saints, in the 
hands of Mr. Sheldon, of Weston, 


He was a native of Mantua, and was educated there in grammar 
and dialectic. Having entered himself among the clergy, be 
spent some time in the study of theology and the canon law^ and 


189 ST. ASSELMf B. C. [MaBCH 18l 

laid that foundation of learning, which, joined with his natara) 
genius and eminent virtue, qualified him to rise to the highest 
degree of excellence. Anselm Badagius, a Milanese, bishop of 
Locca, was chosen pope in 1061, and took the name of Alex- 
ander 11. He nominated our saint his successor in the see of 
Lucca ; and he took a journey into Germany to the emperor, - 
Henry IV., but out of a scruple refused to receive the inves- 
titure of the bishopric from that prince, so that the pope was 
obliged to keep in his own hands the administration of the sec 
of Lucca. St. Gregory Vll., who succeeded Alexander Jl^ 
in 1073, ordered Anselm to receive the investiture from Henry. 
This compliance gave our saint such remorse, that he left his 
see, and took the monastic habit at Cluni. The pope obliged him 
to return to his bishopric, which he did. His zeal soon raised 
him enemies : by virtue of a decree of Pope Gregory IX. he 
attempted to reform the canons of his cathedral, and to oblige 
them to live in community : this they obstinately refused to da, 
though they were interdicted by the pope, and afterwards excom- 
municated in a council, in which Peter Igneus, the famous bishop 
of Albano, presided in the name of his holiness. The holy 
countess Maud undertook to expel the refractory canons, but 
they raised a sedition, and, being supported by the emperor 
Henry, drove the bishop out of the city, in 1079. St. Anselm 
retired to the countess Maud, whose director he was ; for he was 
eminently experienced in the paths of an interior life, and, in 
the greatest hurry of business, he always reserved several hours 
in the day, which he consecrated to prayer, and attended only to 
God and himself. Whilst he studied or conversed with others^ 
his heart was virtually united to God, and every object served 
as it were naturally to raise his affections afresh to his Creator. 
Pope Gregory suffered him not to bury himself in his retreat; 
but, during his exile, appointed him apostolic legate in Lombardy, 
charging him with the care of several diocesses in those parts, 
which, through the iniquity of the times, had continued long 
vacant. St. Anselm wrote an apology for Gregory VII. in which 
he shows that it belongs not to temporal princes to give pastors 
to the church of Christ, and to confute the pretensions of the 
antipope, Guibert.* In another work he proves, that temporal 

* This work i» published bj Canisius, Lect. A.ntiq. t. 3. p. 389. and Bibl. 
Patr. Lugdon. 1. 18. Colon. 1. 10. 


MaUCH 18.] ST. FEIDIAN, B. C. 189 

princes cannot dispose of the revenues of the church. St. Anselm 
died at Mantua^ on the 18th of March, in 1086. His name occurs 
on this day in the Roman Martyrology, and he is honoured at 
Mantua as patron of that city. Baldus, his penitentiary, has 
written his life, in which he ascribes to him several miracles. 
See it in Canisius's Lect. Antiq. t. 3. p. 372. 



He is said to have been son to a king of Ulster in Ireland, at 
l^ast he is looked upon as of Irish extraction. Travelling into 
Italy, to improve himself in ecclesiastical learning and virtue, he 
made such progress that, upon the death of Germinian, bishop 
of Lucca, he was ' chosen bishop of that extensive diocess, the 
eleventh from St. Paulinus, founder of that church, said to have 
been a disciple of St. Peter. St. Gregory the Great assures us, 
that he miraculously checked an impetuous flood of the river 
Auser, now called the Serchio, when it threatened to drown great 
part of the city. St. Fridian died in 678, and was buried in a 
place where the church now stands which bears his name. Pope 
Alexander II. sent for some regular canons from this church to 
establish that order in the churches of St. John Later an, and of 
the cross of Jerusalem, at Rome, but, in 1507, the congregation 
of St. Frigdian was united to that of St. John Lateran. (1 ) See 
St. Gregory the Great, 1. 3. Dial. c. 9. Bede, Notker, Raban, 
Usuard, and the Roman Mortyrology, on the 18th of March. 
Also Innocent III. c. 34. de Testibus et Attestationibus. In 
Decreto Gregoriano. Rursus id. c. 8. de Testibus cogendis. lb. 
iterum, de Verborum Significatione. See also Dempster (of the 
famUy of the barons of Muresk, a Scotchman, public professor, 
first in severaf towns in Flanders, afterwards at Pisa, and lastly 
at Bononia, where he died in 1625) in his Etruria Regalis, t. 2. 
1. 6. c. 6. p. 299. which work was printed with many cuts, in two 
volumes, folio, at Florence, in 1723, at the expense of Thomas 
Coke, late earl of Leicester, then on his travels. And princi- 
pally see the Ecclesiastical History of Lucca, printed in that city, 
in 1736, and again in 1741, in 12mo. 

(1) See F. Heliot, t. 2. p. 50. 

190 8T. JOSEPH. [March 19. 



The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest 
kings of the tribe of Juda, and from the most illustrious of 
the ancient patriarchs ; but his true glory consisted in his humility 
and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by 
men ; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost 
himself. God intrusted him with the education of his divine Son, 
manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the 
Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by 
a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of 
the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers oi our Lord : 
for these were only cousin-germ ans to Christ, the sons of Mary, 
sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphseus, who was living at 
the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerom assures us,(l) 
that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity ; and it is 
of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard 
to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given 
her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her 
from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her 
in his education, and in her journies, fatigues, and persecutions. 
How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen 
the guardian of the most spotless Virgin ! This holy man seems, 
for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great 
mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy 
Ghost. Conscious therefore of his own chaste behaviour towards 
her, it could not but raise a great concern in his breast, to find 
that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he 
might be well assured that she was with child. But heing ajusi 
man, as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of 
all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neigh- 
bour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either 
condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. 
These his perfect dispositions were so acceptable to God, the 
lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design 
in execution, he sent an angel from heaven not to reprehend 
anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and 

(1) L. adv. Helvid. c. 9. 

March 19.1 st, Joseph. 191 

fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy 
should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputa- 
tion of our neighbour ; as free from entertaining any injurious 
thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our 
senses may seem to rely on ; and as guarded in our tongue ! We 
commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of 
that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so 
eminent an example on this occasion. 

In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation, with 
what devotion, respect, and tenderness, he beheld and adored 
the first of all men, the new-bom SaViour of the world, and with 
what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the 
education of Jesus, and the guardianship of his blessed mother. 
** He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Ber- 
nard, (1) •* whom our Lord appointed the master of his house- 
hold, the comfort and support of his mother, his fosterfather. 
and most faithful cooperator in the execution of his deepest 
counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same father, 
" not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him, to carry 
him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and 
caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets 
which were concealed from the princes of this world." 

" astonishing elevation ! unparalleled dignity ! " cries out 
the pious Gerson,(2) in a devout address to St. Joseph, " that 
the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord ; 
tha* God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey 
your commands. glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph^ 
how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven. Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost ! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, 
80 excellent." Amidst these his extraordinary graces, what 
more wonderful than his humility ! He conceals his privileges, 
lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's 
great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving 
it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the 
order of providence in his regard, without interfering with any 
thing but what concerns himself. Though descended from the 
royal family which had long been in possession of the throne 
of Judaea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanio 

(1) Horn. 2. super missus est, n. 16. p. 742. (2) Serm de Natif. 


192 n\ JOSEPH. [March 19. 

or handicraftsman,* and makes it his business, by laboaring in 
it» to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine child. 

We should be ungrateful to this great saint, if we did not 
remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that 
we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from 
Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the 
Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep, bade him 
arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into £gypt, and 
remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. 
This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to 
many inconveniences and suflFerings in so long a journey, with a 
little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being 
through deserts, and among strangers ; yet he alleges no excuses, 
nor inquiries at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom 
observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them 
frequent trials, to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, 
but intermixing seasons of consolation. (1) " Joseph," says he, 
*' is anxious on seeing the Virgin wi^^h child ; an angel removes 
that fear ; be rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear suc- 
ceeds ; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole 
city is in an uproar to take asiray his life. This is followed by 
another joy, the adoration of the Magi: a new sorrow then 
arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, 
without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the fathers, 
that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child 
Jesus, all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck 
dumb, and the statues of their Gods trembled, and in many 
places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix. And 
t/ie statues of the Egyptians shall be shaken in his presence.^ 

(1) Horn. 8. in Matt. t. 7. p. 123. ed. Ben. 

• This appears from Matt. xiii. 56. St Justin, (Dial. n. 89. ed. Ben. p. 
186.) St. Ambrose, (in Luc. p. 3.) and Theodoret (b. 3. Hist. c. 18.) say he 
worked in wood, as a carpenter. St. Hilary (in Matt. c. 14. ]^. 17.) and St. 
Peter Chrysologns (Serm. 48.) say he wrought in iron as a smith ; probably 
he wrought both in iron and in wood ; which opinion St. Justin favours, by 
saying: ** He and Jesus made ploughs and yokes for oxen." 

f This is affirmed by St. Athanasius, (1. de Incam.) Eusebius, (Demon- 
•trat. Evang. 1. 6. c. 20.) St. Cyril, (Cat. 10.) St. Ambrose, (in Ps. 118. Octon. 
6.) St. Jerom, (in Isai. 19.) St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, (in 
Isai.) Bozomen, (1. &. c. 20.) &c. 

March 18.] st. Joseph. 193 

The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual bene- 
diction poured on that country, which made it for many agea 
most fruitful in saints.* 

After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. 
Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child 
and his mother into the land of lisrael, which our saint readily 
obeyed. But when he arrived in Judaea, hearing that Archelaus 
succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he 
might be infected with his father's vices — cruelty and ambition — 
he feared on that account to settle there, as lie would otherwise 
probably have done, for the more commodious education of the 
^Dhild. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, 
he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in 
Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the won- 
derful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. 
Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity 
to its direction, annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the 
passover. Archelaus, being banished by Augustus, and Judxa 
made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at 
Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of 
his age, accompanied his parents thither ; who, having performed 
the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many 
of their neighbours and acquaintance towards Galilee, and 
never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of 
the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey with- 
out further inquiry after him, before they discovered that he 
was not with them. But when night came on, and they could 
hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, 
they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed 
to Jerusalem : where, after an anxious search of three days, 
they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors 
of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such ques- 
tions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made 
them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor 
were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when 
his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had 
sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, 
privation of his presence, said to him : '' Son, why hast thoa 

* See the Liyes of the Fathers of the Desert. 

194 ST. JOSEPH. [MlECH 19. 

thus dealt ^ith us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in 
great affliction of mind ;" she received for answer, that heing 
the Messias and Son of God, sent hy his Father into the world 
in order to redeem it, he must he about his Father's business, 
the same for which he had been sent into the world ; and there- 
fore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's 
house : intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion, 
was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes 
of the Jews to receive him for their Messias ; pointing out to 
them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though 
in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did 
something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly- 
Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning 
with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjec- 
tion to them. 

Aelred, our countryman, abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on 
losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his eon- 
duct to his parents is a true representation of that which he 
shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time 
from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus 
describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion :(1) 
" Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, 
in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his 
face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine 
wisdom and virtue ; and in their mutual discourse to receive the 
influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young 
admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with aston- 
ishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe 
such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on 
him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do 
they shed w^hen he is not with them ?" He goes on considering 
what must be the grief of the parents when they had lost him ; 
what their sentiments, and how earnest their search : but what 
their joy when they found him again. " Discover to me," says 
he, " my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your senti- 
ments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him 
again, and sitting, not amongst boys, but amidst the doctors of 
the law : when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every 
one s ears listening to him, great and small, learned and un- 

vl) Bibl. Patr. t. J3 


MABCH 19.] ST. JOSEPH. 196 

learned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say : 
I have found him whom I love. I wiD hold him, and will no 
more let him part from me. Hold him, 'sweet Lady, hold him 
fast; rush on his neck, dwell on his embraces, and compensate 
the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present 
enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought 
him in grief For what did you grieve ? not for fear of hunger 
or want in him whom you knew to be God : but I believe you 
grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence 
even for a short time ; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those 
who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the 
greatest grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the 
devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and 
leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking 
him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has 
lost God by sin, to seek him again, and how bitterly ought 
she to deplore her extreme misfortune ! 

As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have 
died before the marriage of Cana, and the beginning of our 
divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the 
happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying 
by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments. 
Whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a 
happy death and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremen- 
dous hour. The church reads the history of the patriarch Joseph 
on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which 
he delivered from perishing by famine ; and was appointed the 
faithful master of the household of Putephar, and of that of 
Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by 
God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour 
of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. 
He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of 
his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their 
distress : ** Go to Joseph ;" so may we confidently address our- 
selves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was 
subject and obedient on earth. 

The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. 
Joseph T which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to pro- 
mote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life 
in twelve poems, called Josephina. [He enlarges on all the cir- 
cumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. 
Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth 

IHC ST. ALC!tfUND, M. [MARCH 9. • 

chapter of her life she writes thus : *' I chose the glorious Si 
Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singn* 
larly to his intercession. I do not rememher ever to have asked 
of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew 
any one, who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly 
in virtue : for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address 
themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole 
nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, 
and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, con- 
stancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches 
celebrate his festival on the 20th of July ; the western church, 
on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV. in 1621, and Urban 
VIII., in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation. 
The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, presents to us 
the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. 
How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their 
poor cottage ! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, 
always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably 
attached to his sacred person, alws^s employed and living only 
for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their 
devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him ! 
O heavenly life ! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss ! O divine 
conversation ! We may imitate them, and share some degree of 
this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the 
contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire 
of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it 
be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, 
and imitating his example and virtues ; and in our studying to 
walk continually in the divine presence, finding God every 
where, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spead 
with God, or for his honour. 


He was son of Eldred, and brother of Osred, kings of the 
Northumbrians. During his temporal prosperity, the greater 
he was in power so much the more meek and humble was be 
in his heart, and so much the more affable to others. He was 
poor amidst riches, because he knew no greater pleasure than to 
strip himself for the relief of the distressed. Being driven from 
his kingdom, together with his father, by rebellious subjects, 
in leaj^ue with Danish plunderers, he lived among the Picls 


March 20.] st. cuthbert, b. c. 197 

above twenty years in banishment ; learning more heartily to 
despise earthly vanities, and making it his whole study to serve 
the King of kings. His subjects groaning under the yoke of an 
insupportable tyranny, took up arms against their oppressors, 
and induced the royal prince, upon motives of compassion for 
their distress and a holy zeal for religion, to put himself at 
their head. Several battles were prosperously fought ; but at 
length the pious prince was murdered by the contrivance of 
King Eardulf, the usurper, as Matthew of Westminister, Simeon 
of Durham, and Florence, of Worcester say. Dr. Brown Willis, 
in his Notitia of parliamentary boroughs, writes, with some 
ancients, that he was slain by the Danes, about the year 819. 
His body was interred at Lilleshult, in Shropshire : but after- 
wards translated to Derby, where he was honoured with great 
devotion as patron of the town, on the 19th of March. An old 
manuscript sermon preached in his church at Derby, about the 
year 1140, extant in a manuscript collection of sermons of that 
age in my hands, folio 138, gives a particular history of this 
translation of his relics to Derby, where his church became 
famous for miracles, and for the resort of pilgrims. See on 
this saint the history of John of Glastenbury, Matthew of 
Westminister, the manuscript sermon above mentioned, and 
Henschenius, t. 3. Mart. p. 47. 



From his life written by Bede, and from that author's Church History, b. 4. 
c. 27 to c. 32. Simeon Dunelm, or rather Turgot, Hist. Dunelm. published 

p. 297. Harpsfield, scec. 7. c 34. Heame on Langtoft, t. 2. p. 687. 
N.B. The history of Durham, which is here quoted, was compiled by 
Turgot, prior of Durham, down to the year 1104, and continued to the 
year J 161 by Simeon. 

A.D. 687. 

When the Northumbrians, under the pious King Oswald, had, 
with great fervour, embraced the Christian faith, the holy 
bishop St. Aidan founded two monasteries, that of Mailros, on 
VOL in. 

198 ST. CUTHBEBT, B. C. [MaBCH 20. 

the bank of the Tweed and another in the isle of Lindisfarne, 
afterwards called Holy Island^ four miles distant from Berwick. 
In both he established the rule of St. Columba; and usually 
resided himself in the latter. St. Cuthbert* was bom not 
very far from Mailros, and in his youth was much edified by 
the devout -deportment of the holy inhabitants of that house, 
whose fervour in the service of God, and the discharge of the 
duties of a monastic life, he piously endeavoured to imitate on 
the mountains where he kept his father's sheep. It happened 
one night that, whilst he was watching in prayer, near his 
flock, according to his custom, he saw the soul of St Aidan 
carried up to heaven by angels, at the very instant that holy 
man departed this life in the isle of Lindisfame. Serious 
reflections on the happiness of such a death determined the 
pious young man to repair^ without delay, to Mailros, where 
he put on the monastic habit, whilst Eata was abbot, and St. 
Boisil prior. He studied the holy scriptures under the latter, 
and in fervour surpassed all his brethren in every monastic 
exercise. Cata being called to govern the new monastery of 
Rippon, founded by King Alcfrid, he took with him St. Cuth- 
bert, and committed to him the care of entertaining strangers ; 
which charge is usually the most dangerous in a religious 
state. Cuthbert washed the feet of others, and served them 
with wonderfbl humility and meekness, always remembering 
that Christ himself is served in his members. And he was 
most careful that the functions of Martha should never impair 
his spirit of recollection. When St. Wilfrid was made abbot 
of Rippon, St. Cuthbert returned with Eata to Mailross ; and 
St. Boisil dying of the great pestilence, in 664, he was chosen 
provost or prior in his place. 

In this station, not content by word and example to form 
his monks to perfect piety, he laboured assiduously among the 
people to bring them ofi^ from several heathenish customs and 
superstitious practices which still remained among them. For 
this purpose, says our venerable historian, he often went out 
sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, to preach the 
i^ay of life to such as were gone astray. Parochial churches 
being at this time very scarce in the country, it was the custom 

* Cuthbert signifies IPustrious for skill : or Guthbertus, Worthy of Grod. 


March 20.] st. cuthbert, b. c. 199 

for the country people to flock about a priest or ecclesiastical 
person, when he came into any village, for the sake of his 
instructions ; hearkening willingly to his words, and more will- 
ingly practising the good lessons he taught them. St. Cuthbert 
excelled all others by a most persuasive and moving €loquence ; 
and such a brightness appeared in his angelical face in delivering 
the word of God to the people, that none of them durst conceal 
from him any part of their misbehaviour, but all laid their 
conscience open before him, and endeavoured by his injunctions 
and counsels to expiate the sins they had confessed, by worthy 
fruits of penance. He chiefly visited those villages and hamlets 
at a distance, which, being situate among high and craggy 
mountains, and inhabited by the most rustic, ignorant, and 
savage people, were the less frequented by other teachers. 
After St. Cuthbert had lived many years at Mailros, St. Eata, 
abbot also of Lindisfarne, removed him thither, and appointed 
him prior of that larger monastery. By the perfect habit of mor- 
tification and prayer the saint had attained to so eminent a 
. spirit of contemplation, that he seemed rather an angel than a 
man. He often spent whole nights in prayer, and sometimes, 
to resist sleep, worked or walked about the island whilst he 
prayed. If he heard others complain that they had been 
disturbed in their sleep, he used to say, that he should think 
himself obliged to any one that awaked him out of his sleep, 
that he might sing the praises of his Creator, and labour for 
his honour. His very countenance excited those who saw him 
to a love of virtue. He was so much addicted to compunction 
and inflan>ed with heavenly desires, that he could never say 
mass without tears. He often moved penitents, who confessed 
to him their sins, to abundant tears, by the torrents of his 
own, which he shed for them. His zeal in correcting sinners 
was always sweetened with tender charity and meekness. The 
saint had governed the monastery of Lindisfarne, under his 
abbot, several years, when earnestly aspiring to a closer union 
with God, he retired, with his abbot's consent, into the little isle 
of Fame, nine miles from Lindisfarne, there to lead an austere 
eremitical life. The place was then uninhabited, and afibrded 
him neither water, tree nor corn. Cuthbert built himself a hut 
with a wall and trench about it, and, by his prayers, obtained 
a well of fresh water in his own cell. Having brought with 
him instruments of husbandry, he sowed first wheat, which 


failed ; then barly, which, though sowed out of season, jdelded 
a plentiful crop. He built a house at the entry of the island 
from Lindisfarne, to lodge the brethren who came to see him, 
whom he there met and entertained with heavenly conferences. 
Afterwards he confined himself within his own wall and trench, 
and gave spiritual advice only through a window, without ever 
stirring out of his cell. He could not however, refuse an 
interview with the holy abbess and royal virgin Elfleda, whom 
her father King Oswi, had dedicated to God from her birth, 
and who in 680, succeeded St. Hilda in the government of the 
abbey of Whitby. This was held in the isle of Cocket, then 
filled with holy anchorets. This close solitude was to our 
saint an uninterrupted exercise of divine love, praise, and com- 
punction ; in which he enjoyed a paraditse of heavenly delights, 
unknown to the world. 

In a synod of bishops, held by St. Theodorus at Twiford, on 
the river Alne, in the kingdom of Northumberland, it was 
resolved, that Cuthbert should be raised to the episcopal see of 
Lindisfarne. But as neither letters, nor messengers, were of 
force to obtain his consent to undertake the charge, King Egfrid, 
who had been present at the council, and the holy bishop Trum- 
win, with many others, sailed over to his island, and conjured 
him, on their knees, not to refuse his labours, which might be 
attended with so much advantage to souls. Their remonstrances 
were so pressing, that the saint could not refuse going with 
them, at least to the council, but weeping most bitterly. He 
received the episcopal consecration at York, the Easter following, 
from the hands of St Theodorus, assisted by six other bishops. 
In this new dignity the saint continued the practice of his former 
austerities; but remembering what he owed to his neighbour, 
he went about preaching and instructing with incredible fruit, 
and without any intermission. He made it every where his 
particular care to exhort, feed, and protect the poor. By 
divine revelation he saw and mentioned to others, at the very 
instant it happened, the overthrow and death of King Egfrid, 
by the Picts, in 685. He cured, by water which he had blessed 
the wife of a noble Thane, who lay speechless and senseless at 
the point of death, and many others. For his miracles he was 
called the Thaumathurgus of Britain. But the most wonderful 
of his miracles was that which grace wrought in him by the 
perfect victory which it gave him over hia passions. His zeal 

March 20.] st. cuthbert, b. c. "201 

for justice was most ardent ; but nothing seemed ever to disturb 
the peace and serenity of his mind. By the close union of his 
soul with God, whose will alone he sought and considered in all 
things, he overlooked all temporal events, and under all acci- 
dents his countenance was always cheerful, always the same : 
particularly in bearing all bodily pains, and every Kind of 
adversity with joy, he was invincible. His attention to, and 
pure view of God in all events, and in all his actions arose 
from the most tender and sweet love, which was in his soul a 
constant source of overflowing joy. Prayer was his centre. 
His brethren discovered sometimes that he spent three or four 
nights together in that heavenly exercise, allowing himself 
very little or no sleep. When St. Ebba, the royal virgin, 
sister to the kings St. Oswald and Oswi, abbess of the double 
monastery of Coldingham, invited him to edify that house by 
his exortations, he complied, and staid there some days. In 
the night, whilst others were asleep, he stole out to his devo- 
tions according to his custom in other places. One of the 
monks who watched and followed him one night, found that 
the saint, going down to the sea-shore, went into the water 
np to the arm-pits, and there sung praises to God. In this 
manner he passed the silent time of the night. Before the 
break of day he came out, and having prayed awhile on the 
sands, returned to the monastery, and was ready to join in 
morning lauds. 

St. Cuthbert, foreseeing his death to approach, resigned his 
bishopric, which he had held two years, and retired to his 
solitude in Fame Island, to prepare himself for his last passage. 
Two months after he fell sick, and permitted Herefrid, the 
abbot of Lindisfarne, who came to visit him, to leave two of his 
monks to attend him in his last moments. He received the 
viaticum of the body and blood of Christ from the hands of the 
abbot Herefrid, at the hour of midnight prayer, and immediately 
lifting up his eyes, and stretching out his hands, sweetly slept in 
Christ on the 20th day of March, 687. He died in the island of 
Fame : but, according to his desire, his body was buried in the 
monastery of Saint Peter in Lindisfarne, on the right side of the 
high altar. Bede relates many miracles performed at his tomb ; 
and adds, that eleven years after his death, the monks taking 
up his body, instead of dust which they expected, found it 
unpuiriiied, with the joints pliable and ihe clothes fresh and 


entire.(l) They put it into a new cofl5n, placed above the 
pavement, over the former grave : and several miracles were 
there wrought, even by touching the clothes which covered the 
coffin. William of Malme8bury(2) writes, that the body was 
again found incorrupt four hundred and fifleen years afterwards 
at Durham, and publicly shown. In the Danish invasions, 
the monks carried it away from Lindisfarne ; and after several 
removals on the continent, settled with their treasure on a 
woody hill almost surrounded by the river Were, formed by 
nature for a place of defence. They built there a church of 
stone, which Aldhune, bishop of Lindisfarne, dedicated in 995, 
and placed in it the body of St. Cuthbert with great solemnity, 
transferring hither his episcopal see.* Many princes enriched 
exceedingly the new monastery and cathedral, in honour of 
St. Cuthbert. Succeeding kings, out of devotion to this saint, 
declared the bishop a count palatine, with an extensive civil 
jurisdiction.t The great king Alfred, who honoured St. Cuth- 
bert as his particular patron, and ascribed to his intercession 
some of his greatest victories, and other blessings which he 
received, was a special benefactor to this church.(3) The pre- 
sent cathedral was built in 1080. When the shrine of the saint 
was plundered and demolished by the order of King Henry VIII. 
the body of St. Cuthbert, which was found still entire, as 
Harpsfield testifies, met with greater regard than many 
others; for it was not burned, as were those of St. Ed- 
mund, king and martyr, St. Thomas, and others. After the 
king's officers had carried away the plunder of his shrine, it 
was privately buried under the place where the shrine before 
stood, though the spot is now unknown. His ring, in which 
a sapphire is enchased, was given by Lord Viscount Montaigne 
to the bishop of Chalcedon,(4) who had long^ been sheltered 
from the persecution in the house of that nobleman,} and 

(1> Bede, Hist. b. 4. c. 30. (2) L. 4. Pontif. Angl. 

(3) See Hickes, Thes. Ling. Septentr. Praef. p. 8. 

(4) Bp. Smith, Flores Hist. Eccles. p. 120. 

• Donelm, or Durham, signifies a hiU upon waters, from the Saxon words 
Dun, a hill, and Holme, a place situate in or among the waters. 

f See Ihigdale's history of the cathedral of Durham; and Dr. Brown 
Willis on the same. 

I Dr. Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, relates in his life of Margaret 
l^iiidy Montaigne, that Queen Elizabeth, out of her singular regard for tJhU 

March 20.] st. cuthbert, b. c. 203 

was by him left in the monastery of English canonesses at 
Paris, which is also possessed of a tooth of St. Cuthbert. A 
copy of St. John's gospel, which, after the example of his master 
St. Boisil, he often read to nourish the fire of divine love in 
his soul, was put into his cofBn when he was buried, and 
found in his tomb. It is now in the possession of Mr. Thomas 
Philips, canon of Tongres, on whom the present earl of Litch- 
field bestowed it. The copy is judged undoubtedly genuine 
by our ablest Protestant antiquaries, who carefully examined it. 
The life of St. Cuthbert was almost a continual prayer. There 
was no business, no company, no place, how public soever, 
which did not afford him an opportunity, and even a fresh 
motive to pray. Not content to pass the day in this exercise, 
he continued it constantly for several hours of the night, which 
was to him a time of light and interior delights. Whatever 
he saw seemed to speak to him of God, and to invite him to 
his love. His conversation was on God or heavenly things, 
and he would have regretted a single moment, which had not 
been employed with God or for his honour, as utterly lost. 
The inestimable riches which he found in God, showed him 
how precious every moment is, in which he had it in his 
power to enjoy the divine converse. The immensity of God, 
who is present in ns and in all creatures, and whom millions 
of worlds cannot confine or contain ; his eternity, to which all 
time coexists, and which has neither beginning, end, nor suc- 
cession ; the unfathomed abyss of his judgments ; the sweetness 
of his providence ; his adorable sanctity ; his justice, w^isdom, 
goodness, mercy, and love, especially as displayed in the 
wonderful mystery of the Incarnation, and in the doctrine, 
actions, and sufferings, of our Blessed Redeemer ; in a word, 
all the incomprehensible attributes of the Divinity, and the 
mysteries of his grace and mercy, successively filled his mind 
and he«irt, and kindled in his soul the most sweet and ardent 
affections in which his thirst and his delight, which were always 
fresh and always insatiable, gave ^him a kind of anticipated 
taste of paradise. For holy contemplation discovers to a soul a 

lady, from the time she had been lady of honour in the court of Queen Mary 
ana Kin^ Philip, tacitly granted her house a kind of privilege, by never 
allowing it to be searched on account of religious p'^rsecution ; so that Pome- 
times sixty priests at once lay hidden in it. 

204 ST. trULFRAN, B. [MARCH 20. 

new most wpnderful world, whose beauty, riches, and pure 
delights astonish and' transport her out of herself. St. Teresa, 
coming from prayer, said she came from a world greater and 
more beautiful beyond comparison, than a thousand worlds, 
like that which we behold with our corporal eyes, could be. 
St. Bernard was always torn from this holy exercise with regret, 
when obliged to converse with men in the world, in which he 
trembled, lest he should contract some attachment to creatures, 
which would separate him from the chaste embraces of his 
heavenly spouse. The venerable priest, John of Avila, when 
he came from the altar, always found commerce with men 
insipid and insupportable. 



His father was an officer in the armies of King Dagobert, and 
the saint spent some years in the court of King Clptaire III. 
and of his mother St. Bathildes, but occupied his heart 'only on 
God, despising worldly greatness as empty and dangerous, and 
daily advancing in virtue in a place where virtue is often little 
known. His estate of Maurilly he bestowed on the abbey of 
Fontenelle, or St. Vandrille, in Normandy. He was chosen and 
consecrated archbishop of Sens, in 682, wich diocess he governed 
during two years and a half with great zeal and sanctity. A 
tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friseland, 
and the example of the English zealous preachers in those parts, 
moved him to resign his bishopric with proper advice, and after 
a retreat at Fontenelle, to enter Friseland in quality of a poor 
missionary priest. He baptized great multitudes, with a son 
of King Radbod, and drew the people from the barbarous 
custom of sacrificing men to idols. The lot herein decided, 
on great festivals, who should be the victim ; and the person 
was instantly hanged or cut in pieces. The lot having fallen 
on one Ovon, St. Wulfran earnestly begged his life of King 
Radbod ; but the people ran tumultuously to the palace, and 
would not suflPer what they called a sacrilege. After many 
words, they consented that if the God of Wulfran should save 
Oven's life, he should ever serve him, and be Wulfran's slave. 
Thn saint betook himself to prayer, and the man, after hanging 

March 20.] st. wulfean, b. 206 

on the gibbet two hours, being left for dead, by the cord 
breaking fell to the ground ; and being found alive was givei? 
to the saint, and became a monk and priest at Fontenelle. 
Wulfran also miraculously rescued two children from being 
drowned in the sea, in honour of the idols. Radbod, who had 
been an eye-witness to this last miracle, promised to become a 
Christian, and was instructed among the catechumens ; but 
his criminal delays rendered him unworthy such a mercy. As 
he was going to step into the baptismal font, he asked where 
the great number of his ancestors and nobles were in the next 
world? The saint replied, that hell is the portion of all who die 
guilty of idolatry. At which the prince drew back, and 
refused to be baptized, saying, he would go with the greater 
number. This tyrant sent afterwards to St. Willebrord to treat 
with him about his conversion ; but before the arrival of the 
saint was found dead. St. Wulfran retired to Fontenelle, that 
he might prepare himself for death, and died there on the 20th 
of April, in 720. His relics were removed to Abbeville, where 
he is honoured as patron. See his life written by Jonas, monk 
of Fontenelle, eleven years after his death, purged from spurious 
additions, by Mabillon, ssec. 3. Ben. Fleury, b. 41. t. 9^. p. 190. 
See also the history of the discovery of his relics at St. Van- 
drille's, accompanied with miracles, and the translation to Rouen 
in 1062, well written by an anonymous author who assisted at 
that ceremony, several parts of which work are published by 
D'Achery, Spicil. t. 3. p. 248. the Bollandists and Mabillon. 
The Bollandists have added a relation of certain miracles said 
to Lave been performed by the relics of this saint at Abbeville. 

2Qfi ST. BENEDICT, 1. [MARCH 21. 



From St. Gregorj, (Dial. 1. 2. c. 1.) who assures us that he receired his 
account of this saint from four abbots, the saint's disciples; namely, 
Constan tine, his successor at Monte Cassino, Simplicius, third abbot oc 
that house, Y alentinian, the first abbot of the monastery of Lateran, and 
Honoratus, who sacceeded St. Benedict at Subiaco. See the remarks of 
Mabillon, Annal. Ben. I. 1. p. 3. and I. 2. p. 38. and Act. Sanct. Bened. 
t, 1. p. 80. Also Dom. Mege, Vie de Saint Benott, avec une Histoire 
Abrftg^e de son Ordre, in 4to. An. 1690. Haften's Disquisitions, and 
abbot Steingelt's abridgment of the same, and Ziegelbauer and Legipont, 
Historia Literaria Ord. S. Benedicti, An. 1754. t. 1. p. 3. and principally 
t. 3. p. 2. 

A.D. 643. 

Saint Benedict, or Bennet, was a native of Norcia, formerly 
an episcopal see in Umbria, and was descended from a family 
of note, and born about tbe year 480. The name of his father 
was Eutropius, and that of his grandfather, Jnstinian. When 
he was fit for the higher studies, he was sent by his parents to 
Rome, and there placed in the public schools. He, who till 
that time knew not what vice was, and trembled at the shadow 
of sin, was not a little shocked at the licentiousness which he 
observed in the conduct of some of the Roman youth, with whom 
he was obliged to converse; and he had no sooner come into 
the world, but he resolved to bid an eternal farewell to it, and not 
to be entangled in its snares. He therefore left the city privately, 
and made the best of his way towards the deserts. His nurse, 
Cyrilla, who loved him tenderly, followed him as far as Afilum, 
thirty miles from Rome, where he found means to get rid of her, 
and pursued his journey alone to the desert mountain of Sub- 
lacum,* near forty miles from Rome. It is a barren, hideous, 
chain of rocks, with a river and lake in the valley. Near this 
place the saint met a monk of a neighbouring monastery, 
called Romanus, who gave him the monastic habit, with suita- 
ble instructions, and conducted him to a deep narrow cave in 
the midst of these mountains, almost inaccessible to men. In 
this cavern, now called the Holy Grotto, the young hermit chose 

• Called by the Italians, who frequently soften / into i, Subiaco. 


March 21.] st. benedict, a 207 

his abode : and Romanus, who kept his secret, brought him 
hither, from time to time, bread and the like slender provisions, 
which he retrenched from his own meals, and let them down 
to the holy recluse with a line, hanging a bell to the cord to 
give him notice. Bennet seems to have been about fourteen 
or fifteen years old when he came to Sublacum; St. Gregory 
says, he was yet a child. He lived three years in this manner 
known only to Romanus, But God was pleased to manifest 
his servant to men, that he might shine forth as a light to many. 
In 497, a certain pious priest in that country, whilst he was 
preparing a dinner for himself on Easter-Sunday, heard a voice 
which said : "You are preparing for yourself a banquet, whilst 
my servant Bennet, at Sublacum, is distressed with hunger." 
The priest immediately set out in quest of the hermit, and with 
much difficulty found him out. Bennet was surprised to see 
a man come to him; but before he would enter into con- 
versation with him, he desired they might pray together. 
They then discoursed for some time on God and heavenly things. 
At length the priest invited the saint to eat, saying, it was 
Easter-day, on which it is not reasonable to fast ; though St. 
Bennet answered him, that he knew not that it was the day of 
so great a solemutiy, nor is it to be wondered at, that one so 
young should not be acquainted with the day of a festival, which 
was not then observed by all on the same day, or that he should 
not understand the Lunar Cicle, which at that time was known 
by very few. After their repast the priest returned home. 
Soon after certain shepherds discovered the saint near his cave, 
but at first took him for a wild beast ; for he was clad with the 
skins of beasts, and they imagined no human creature could 
live among those rocks. When they liand him to be a ser- 
vant of God, they respected him "exceedingly, and many of 
them were moved by his heavenly discourses to embrace with 
fervour a course of perfection. From that time he began to 
be known, and many visited him, and brought him such sus- 
tenance as he would accept : in requital for which he nourished 
their souls with spiritual instructions. Though he lived se- 
questered from the world, he was not yet secure from the 
assaults of the tempter. Wherever we fly the devil still pursues 
us, and we carry a domestic enemy within our own breasts 
St. Gregory relates that whilst St. Bennet was employed in 
divine contemplation, the fiend endeavoured to withdraw his 

208 ST. BENEDICT, A. [MARCH 21. 

mind from heavenly objects, by appearing in the shape of a little 
black bird ; but that, upon his making the sign of the cross, the 
phantom vanished. After this, by the artifices of this restless 
enemy, the remembrance of a woman whom the saint had 
formerly seen at Rome, occurred to his mind, and so strongly 
affected his imagination, that he was tempted to leave his 
desert. But blushing: at so base a suggestion of the enemy, 
he threw himself upon some briers and nettles which grew in 
the place where he was, and rolled himself a long time in them 
till his body was covered with blood. The wounds of his body 
stifled all inordinate inclinations, and their smart extinquished 
the flame of concupiscence. This complete victory seemed (o 
have perfectly subdued that enemy; for he found himself no 
more molested with its stings. 

The fame of his sanctity being spread abroad, it occasioned 
several to forsake the world, and imitate his penitential 
manner of life. Some time after the monks of Vicovara,* on 
the death of their abbot, pitched upon him to succeed him. 
He was very unwilling to take upon himself that charge, which 
he declined in the spirit of sincere humility, the beloved virtue 
which he had practised from hia infancy, and which was the plea- 
sure of his heart, and is the delight of a God humbled even to the 
cross, for the love of us. The saint soon found by experience 
that their manners did not square with his just idea of a 
monastic state. Certain sons of Belial among them carried 
their aversion so far as to mingle poison with his wine : but 
when, according to his custom, before he drank of it he made 
the sign of the cross over the glass, it broke as if a stone had 
fallen upon it. " God forgive you, brethren," said the saint, 
with his usual meekness and tranquillity of soul, " you now 
see I was not mistaken when I told you that your manners and 
mine would not agree." He therefore returned to Sublacum ; 
which desert he soon peopled with monks, for whom he built 
twelve monasteries, placing in each twelve monks with a su- 
perior, t In one of these twelve monasteries there lived a monk, 

• Vicovara, anciently Varronis Vicus, a village between Subiaco and 

t These twelve monastericH were situated in the same neighbourhood, in 
the province Valeria. Modems disagree in their names and description, 
according to the account of Dom. Mege, which appears most accurate, the 
fint was called Columbaria, now St. Clement's, and stood within sixty paces 

March 21.] st. benedict, a. 209 

who, out of sloth, neglected and loathed the holy exerciser of 
mental prayer, insomuch that after the psalmody or divine ofl&ce 
was finished, he every day left the church to go to work, whilst 
his brethren were employed in that holy exercise ; for by this 

1 1 private prayer in the church, after the divine office, St. Gregory 

means pious meditation, as Dom. Mege demonstrates. This 

^ slothful monk began to correct his fault upon the charitable 

admonition of Pompeian, his superior ; but, after three days, 
relapsed into his former sloth. Pompeian acquainted Saint 
Benedict, who said, "I will go and correct him myself." Such 
indeed was the danger and enormity of this fault, as to require 
the most effectual and speedy remedy. For it is only by 
assiduous prayer, that the soul is enriched with the abundance 
of the heavenly w^ater of divine graces, which produces in her 
the plentiful fruit of all virtues. If we consider the example of 
all the saints, we shall see that prayer was the principal means 
by which the Holy Ghost sanctified their souls, and that they 
advanced in perfection in proportion to their progress in the 
holy spirit of prayer. If this be neglected, the soul becomes 
spiritually barren, as a garden loses all its fruitfulness, and all 
its beauty, if the pump raise not up a continual supply of 
water, the principle of both. St. Benedict, deploring the mis- 
fortune and blindness of this monk, hastened to his monastery, 
and coming to him at the end of the divine office, saw a little 

from the saint's cave, called the Holy Grotto ; the second was named of SS. 
Cosmas and Damian, now St. Scholastica's ; the third, St. Michael's ; the 
fourth, of St. Donatus, bishop and martyr; the fifth, St. Mary's, now St. 
Laurence's ; the sixth, St. John Baptist's, situated on the highest part of the 
rock, but from a fountain which St. Bennet produced there by his prayers, 
and which still subsists; it is at present called St. John dell' Acqua; the 
seventh, St. Jerom's; the eighth, vita iEtema; the ninth, St. Victorian or 
Victorin's called from a martyr of that name, who is patron of the province 
of Valeria; the tenth, at the neighbouring village Trebare; the eleventh, at 
St. Angelus's ; the twelfth, at a fountain near the ancient castle, called Roca 
le Bore. These monasteries have been all united in that of St. Scholastica, 
which remains in a very flourishing condition, and is regarded as the mother- 
liouse of the whole Order, being certainly more ancient than that of Mount 
Cassino. It is a member of the Congregation of St. Justina, and though it 
is usually given in commendam, by a peculiar distinction, it is governedbv a 
regular abbot chosen by the General Chapter. Of the rest of these twelve 
monasteries, only some cells or ruins remain. Besides the hundred and forty- 
four monks which were distributed in these twelve monasteries, St. Gregory 
tells us, that the holy patriarch retained a small number with himself, by 
whicL it appears that he Continued to live ordinarily in a distinct little mona- 
btery or hermitage about bis grotto, though he always auperintended and 
governed all these houses. 


210 ST. BENEDICT, A. [MARCH 21. 

Dlack boy leading him by the sleeve out of the church. After 
two days' prayer, St. Maurus saw the same ; but Pompeian 
could not see this vision, by which was represented that the 
devil studies to withdraw men from prayer, in order that, being 
disarmed and defenceless, they may easily be made a prey. On 
the third day, St. Benedict finding the monk still absent from 
church in the time of prayer, struck him with a wand, and 
by that correction the sinner was freed from the temptation. 
Dom. German Millet,(l) tells us, from the tradition and archives 
of the monastery of St. Scholastica, that this happened in St. 
Jerom's. In the monastery of St. John, a fountain sprung up 
at the prayers of the saint; this, and two other monasteries, 
which were built on the summit of the mountain, being before 
much distriBssed for want of water. In that of St. Clement, 
situate on the bank of a lake, a Goth, who was a monk, let fall 
the head of a sickle into the water as he was cutting down 
thistles and weeds in order to make a garden; but St. Maur, 
who with St. Placidus lived in that house, holding the wooden 
handle in the water, the iron of its own accord swam, and joined 
it again, as St. Gregory relates. St. Benedict's reputation drew 
the most illustrious personages from Rome and other remote 
parts to see him. Many, who came clad in purple, sparkling 
with gold and precious stones, charmed with the admirable 
sanctity of the servant of God, prostrated themselves at his feet 
to beg his blessing and prayers, and some, imitating the sacrifice 
of Abraham, placed their sons under his conduct in their most 
tender age, that they might be formed to perfect virtue from 
their childhood. Among others, two rich and most illustrious 
senators, Eutychius, or rather Equitius, and Tertullus, com- 
mitted to his care their two sons, Maurus, then twelve years 
old, and Placidus, also a child, in 522.* The devil, envying 
so much good, stirred up his wicked instruments to disturb 
the tranquillity of the servant of God. Florentius, a priest 

(1) See Dom. Mege, p. 84. 

* It has been related in the life of St. Maurus, how he walked on the water 
to save the life of Placidus, then a child, who, going to the lake to fetch 
water, had fallen in; for in monasteries no distinction was shown to noble* 
men or their children, nor were they exempted from their share in manual 
labour, or other severities of the Rule. Such ^emptions and privile^en « 
granted to many on pretence of health, first opened the door to a relaxation 
of Toonastic discipline. Placidus said^ that when he was drawn by Maun^ 

March 21.] tST. benedict, a. 211 

in the neighbouring country, though unworthy to bear that 
Bacred character, moved by a secret jealousy, persecuted the 
saint, and aspersed his reputation with grievous slanders.. 
Bennet, being a true disciple of Christ, knew no revenge but 
that of meekness and silence : and not to inflame the envy of 
his adversary, lefl Sublacum, and repaired to Mount Cassino. 
He was not got far on his journey, when he heard that Florentius 
was kiUed by the fall of a gallery in which he was. The saint 
was much afflicted at his sudden and unhappy death, and 
enjoined Maurus a penance for calling it a deliverance from 

Cassino is a small town, now in the kingdom of Naples, built 
on the brow of a very high mountain, on the top of which 
stood an old temple of Apollo, surrounded with a grove in 
which certain idolaters still continued to offer their abominable 
sacrifices. The man of God having, by his preaching and 
miracles, converted many of them to the faith, broke the idol to 
pieces, overthrew the altar, demolished the temple and cut down 
the grove. Upon the ruins of which temple and altar he erected 
two oratories or chapels ; one bore the name of St. John the 
Baptist, the other of St. Martin. This was the origin of the 
celebrated abbey of Mount Cassino, the foundation of which 
the saint laid in 529, the forty-eighth year of his age, the third 
of the emperor Justinian : Felix IV., being pope, Athalaric king 
of the Goths in Italy. The patrician, Tertullus, came about 
that time to pay a visit to the saint, and to see his son Placidus; 
and made over to this monastery several lands which he pos- 
sessed in that neighbourhood and also a considerable estate 
in Sicily. St. Bennet met on Mount Cassino, one Martin, a 
venerable old hermit, who, to confine himself to a more austere 
solitude, had chained himself to the ground in his cell, with a 
long iron chain. The holy abbot, fearing this singularity might 
be a mark of affectation, said to him : " if you are a servant of 
Jesus Christ, let the chain of his love, not one of iron, hold you 

out of the water, he saw over his head the melotes of the ahhot, and seemed 
to be saved by it, whence the miracle was by the disciples ascribed to St. 
Benedict. Dom. Hseften thinks by the melotes is meant a cowL to which 
that name is given by Paul the deacon, and the Roman Order or Cferemonial. 
But most understand a habit made or skins of goats, such as the Eastern 
monks wore, in imitation of the ancient prophets, as Ca«sian describeFi. 
(Instit. 1. I.e. 8.) 


212 ST. BENEDICT, A. [MaRCII 21. 

Sxed in your resolution." Martin gave proof of his humility by 
his obedience^ and immediately laid aside his chain. Saint 
Bennet governed also a monastery of nuns, situate near Mount 
Cassino, as is mentioned by St. Gregory : he founded an abbey 
of men at Terracina, and sent^ St. Placidus into Sicily to 
establish another in that island. Though ignorant of secular 
learning, he was eminently replenished with the spirit of God, 
and an experimental science of spiritual things : on which account 
he is said by St. Gregory the Great to have been "learnedly 
Ignorant and wisely unlettered."* For the alphabet of this great 
man is infinitely more desirable than all the empty scienoe ^f 
the world, as St. Arsenius said of St. Antony. From certain 
very ancient pictures of St. Benedict and old inscriptions, 
Mabillon proves this saint to have been in holy orders, and a 
deacon. (1) Several moderns say he was a priest; but, as 
Muratori observes without grounds. By the account which St. 
Gregory has given us of his life, it appears that he preached 
sometimes in neighbouring pl^^es, and that a boundless charity 
opening his hand, he distrib' ted amongst the needy all that he 
had on earth, to lay up his whole treasure in heaven, St. Bennet, 
possessing perfectly the science of the saints, and being enabled 
by the Holy Ghost to be the guide of innumerable souls in the 
most sublime paths of Christian perfection, compiled a monastic 
rule, which, for wisdom and discretion, St. Gregory the Great 
preferred to all other rules ; and which was afterwards adopted, 
for some time, by all the monks of the West. It is principally 
founded on silence, solitude, prayer, humility, and obedience.f 

(1) Annal. Bened. t. 5. p. "^^2. ad. an. 543. See also Muratori, Script. 
Ital. t. 4. p. 217 

• Scienter nescieiis, et sapienter indoctus. 

t By it the abbot is charged with the entire government of the monasterj'. 
Seven hours a day are allotted the monks for manual labour, and two for 

fiious reading, besides meditation from matins till break of day. But manual 
abour has been exchanged in most places for sacred studies and spiritual 
functions. The rule commands perpetual abstinence from flesh-meat, not 
onjy of four-footed animals, but also of fowls, which at that time were only 
served at the tables of princes as most exquisite dainties, as Mabillon shows 
from the testimony of St. Gregory of Tours. This law of abstinence is re- 
stored in the reformed congregation of St. Maur, and others. The hemina 
of wine allowed by St. Bennet per day, in countries where wine and water are 
only drank, has been the subject of many dissertations, this measure having 
rot been the same at all times, nor in all countries. The Roman hemina, 
which was half a sextariusj contained ten ounces, as Montfaucon demoiutrates. 

March 21.] st. benedict, a. 213 

St Bennet calls his Order a school in which meu learn how to 
serve God : and his life was to his disciples a perfect model for 
their imitation, and a transcript of his rule. Being chosen by 
God, like another Moses, to conduct faithful souls into the true 
promised land, the kingdom of heaven, he was enriched with 
eminent supernatural gifts, even those of miracles and prophecy 
He seemed, like another Eliseus, endued by God with an extra- 
ordinary power, commanding all nature ; and like the ancient 
prophets, foreseeing future events. He often raised the sinking 
courage of his monks, and baffled the various artifices of the 
devil with the sign of the cross, rendered the heaviest stone light, 
in building his monastery by a short prayer, and, in presence of 
a multitude of people, raised to life a novice who had been 
crushed by the fall of a wall at Mount Cassino. He foretold, 

(Anti(^. expl. t. 3. 1. 4. o. 7* p* H9. 152.) and as Mabillon allows. (Prsef. in 
8eec. 4.) Lancelot endeavours to show, in a dissertation on this subject, that 
St. Bennet is to be understood of this Koman faemina. Menard takes it to 
have been only seven ounces and a half. Mabillon (Pr. in Ssec. 4. p. cxv.j 
and Martenne (in c. 40. Keg.) think the holy founder speaks not of the ordi- 
nary or B.oman hemina, and understand him of the Grecian, which contained 
a pound and a half, or eighteen ounces. Calmet looks upon Lancelot'^ 
opinion as most probable. He shows from the clear tradition of Benedictin 
writers and monuments, that St. Benedict's hemina contained three glasses 
or draughts. See Calmet (in c. 40. B^g. t. 2. p. 62.) But St. Benedict allows 
and commends a total abstinence from wine. The portion of bread allowed 
by this holy patriarch to each monk, was a pound and a half, or eighteen 
ounces a day, as it is explained by the famous council held at Aix-la-Chapelle, 
in the reign of Charlemagne, 

The holy rule of St. Benedict, which the great Cosmus of Medicis, and 
other wise legislators read frequently, in order to learn the maxims of perfect 
government, has been explained by a great number of learned and pious 
commentators, of whom Calmet gives a list, (t 1. p. 1.) The principal amongst 
the moderns are Hseften, prior of Affligem, in twelve books of monastic dis 
quisitions, &c. Steingelt, abbot of Anhusen, gave a judicious abridgment 
of this work. Dom. Menard has written upon this rule in his Comments ou 
the Concord of B.uies of St. Benedict of Anian. Dom. Mege's Commentaires 
sur la Kegle de St Benoit, in 4to. printed at Paris, in 1687, have been much 
blamed by his brethren for laxity. Dom. Martenne published with more 
applause his Commentarius in Begulam S. Benedicti, in 4to., in 1690. Son 
Edition de la B^p;le est la plus exacte qu'on nous a donn^ ; et son Commen- 
taire ^galement judi^ieux et scavant II ne parle pas de celui de Dom. Mege 
qui avoit parut trois ans avant le sien ; parceque ses sentiments rel&ch^ sur 
la m^tbode de pratiquer ou imposer des humiliations et sur plusieurs autres 
points out scandalizes ses confreres, de sorte qu'en plusieurs monast^res re- 
formes de cet ordre on ne le met pas entre les mains des jeunes religieux. 
Voyez le Cerf, Bibl. des Ecr. de la Cfongr. de St. Maur, p. 348. Hist. Literaria 
Ord. St. Bened. t. 3. p. 21. Dom. Calmet printed in 1734, in two volumes, 
in 4 to. Commentaire Literal Historique et Moral sur la Begle de St. Be- 
noit, a work which, both for edification and erudition, is far superior to all 
the former, and is the master-piece of this laborious writer, though not 
VOL. ill. e 

214 ST. BENEDICT, A. [MaBCH 21. 

with many tears, that this monastery should he profaned aaid 
destroyed; which happened forty years after, when the Lombards 
demolished it ahout the year 580. He added, that he had scarcely 
been ahle to obtain of God that the inhabitants should be saved. 
It was strictly forbidden by the rule of St. Benedict, for any monk 
to eat out of his monastery, unless he was at such a distance 
that he could not return home that day, aod this rule, says St. 
Gregory, was inviolably observed. Indeed nothing more danger* 
ously engages monks in the commerce of the world ; nothing 
more enervates in them the discipline of abstinence and mortifi- 
cation, than for them to eat and drink with seculars abroad. 
St. Gregory tells us, that St. Bennet knew by revelation the 
fault of one of his monks who had accepted of an invitation to 

entirely exempt from litde slips of memory, aa when St. Cnthbert is called 
in it the founder of the monastery of Lindisfarne. (p. 18. t. 1.) The chief 
modern ascetical treatise on this subject is. La Regie de St. Benott, traduite 
et expliqu^e par M. de Banc^ abb^ de la Trappe, 2 vols. 4to. 1690, an excel- 
ient wo A for those who are bound to study, and imbibe the spirit of this holy 
Tule. It is reduced into meditations ; which, as Calmet was informed by 
Mabillon, was done by a Benedictin nun. We have also Meditations on the 
Bule of St. Benedict, compiled by Dom. Morelle, author of many other works 
of piety and devotion. We have also very devout reflections on the prayer* 
used in the religious profession of this order, under the following title : Sen- 
uments de Pi^te sur la Profession religieuse, nar un religieux fen^dictin de 
jL Congregation de St. Maur. Dom. Berthelet of ihe eongregation of St. 
Vannes, proves abstinence from flesh to have been anciently an essential 
duty of the monastic state, by an express book, entitled. Traits Histoiique 
et Moral de P Abstinence de la Viande^ 1731. 

• When the Lombards destroyed this famous abbey, in 680, St. Bennet, 
the abbot, escaped with all his monks to Borne, carrying with him only a 
copy of the Bule, written by St. Benedict himself, some of the habits which 
he and his sister St. Scholastica had wore, and the weight of the bread and 
measure of the wine which were the daily allowance for every monk. Pope 
Pelagius II. lodged these fathers near the Lateran church, where they built 
a monastery. In the pontificate of Gregory II. about the year 720, they 
were conducted back by abbot Petronax to Mount Cassino. This abbey was 
again ruined by the Saracens in 884 : also by the Normans in 1046, and by 
the Emperor Frederic II. in 1239. But was as often rebuilt. It is at this 
day very stately, and the abbot exercises an episcopal jurisdiction over the 
town of San Germane, three little miles distant, and over twenty-one other 
parishes. The regular abbot of St. Scholastica at Subiaco, is temporal and 
spiritual lord of twenty-five villages. The Benedictins reckon in their Order, 
comprisiug all its branches and nliations, thirty-seven thousand houses. / s 
to the number of emperors, kings, queens, princes, and princesses, who em- 
braced this Order, and that of saints, popes, and writers of note, which it has 
given the church, see F. Helyot, bom. Mege, Calmet, and especially F. 
Ziegelbaver, Hist. Liter. Ord. S. Bened. 4 vol. folio. Aug. VindeL An. 1764, 

The monastic Order settled by St. Athanasius at Milan and Triers, during 
his banishment into the West j by St. Eusebius of Vercelli, in his diocess 

March 21.] sr. benedict, a. 2i5 

take soiue refreshment when he was abroad on busine8s.(l) A 
messenger who brought the saint a present of two bottles of 
wine, and had hid one of them, was put in mind by him to 
beware drinking of the other, in which he afterwards found a 
serpent. One of the monks, after preaching to the nuns, had 
accepted of some handkerchiefs from them, which he hid in his 
bosom ; but the saint, upon his return, reproved him, for his 

(1) St Greg. Dial. 1. 2. o. 2. Dom. Mege, p. 180. 

and by St. Hilary and St. Martinln Gaul, was foanded upon the plan of the 
Oriental monasteries ; being brought by those holy prelatse from Egypt ana 
Syria. The same is to be said cf the first monasteries founded in Grea 
Britain and Ireland. After the coming of St Columban from Ireland int# 
France, his Bule continued long moi(t in use, and was adopted by the 
greater part of the monasteries that flourished in that kingdom. But it was 
customary in those ages, for founders of great monasteries, frequently to 
choose out of different Rules such religluus practices and regulations, and to 
add such others as they judged most expedient : and the Benedictin Rule 
was sometimes blended with that of St. «. olumban or others. In the reigns 
of Charlemagne and Lewis the Debonnaire, for the sake-of umfbrmity, it was 
enacted by the council of Aix-la-Chapelle it 802, and several other decrees, 
that the Rule of St. Benedict should alone be followed in all the monasteries 
in the dominions of thos^ princes. F. Reyner, a most learned English Bene- 
dictin, in his Apostolatus Benedictinorum in An^lia, has, with profound 
erudition, produced all the monuments and authorities by which it can be 
made to appear that St. Gregory the Great established the Rule of St. Bene- 
dict in his monastery of St Andrew, at Rome, and was settled by St. Austin 
and the other monks who were sent by St Gregory to convert the English in 
all the monasteries which they founded in this island. These proofs were 
abridged by Mabillon, Natalis Alexander, and others, who have ludged that 
they amount to demonstration. Some, however, still maintain that tne monastic 
Rule, brought hither by St Austin, was a compilation from several different 
Rules : that St Bennet Biscop, and soon after, St. Wilfred introduced several 
new regulations borrowed from the Rule of St. Benedict ; that St. Dunstan 
established it in England more perfectly, still retaining several of the ancient 
constitutions of the English monasteries, and that it was not entirely adopted 
in England before Lanfranc's time. Tnis opinion is warmly abetted by Dr. 
Lay. in his additions to Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, and Tanner's 
Pref. to Notitia Monastica, in folio. 

The Order of St Benedict has branched out since the year 900, into several 
independent congregations, and the Orders of Camaldoli, Vallis Umbrosa, 
Fontevrault, the Giloertins, Silvestrins, Cistercians, and some others, are no 
more than reformations of the same, with certain particular additional con- 

Among the- Reformations or distinct Congregations of Benedictins, the 
first is that of Cluni, so called from the great monastery of that name, in the 
diocess of Macon, founded by William the Pious, duke of Aquitain, about the 
year 910. St. Bemo, the first abbot, his successor St. Odo, afterwards St. 
Hugh, St. Odilo, St. Mayeul, Peter the Venerable, and other excellent abbots 
exceedingly raised the reputation of this reform, and propagated the same. 
A second Reformation was established in this Congregation in 1621, by the 
Grand Prior de Yeni, resembling ^ose of St Yaiuie and St Maur. Those 


secret sin again bt the rule of holy poverty. A lovice, standing 
before him, was tempted with thoughts of pride on account of 
his birth : the saint discovered what passed in h^s soul and bid 
him make the sign of the cross on his breast. 

When Belisarius, the emperor's general, was recalled to 
Constantinople, Totila, the Arian king of the Goths, invaded 
and plundered Italy. Having heard wonders of the sanctity of 
St. Bennet, and of his predictions and miracles, he resolved to 

monks who would not adopt it iu their houses, are called Ancient monks of 
Cluni. The Congregation of Cava was so called, from the great monastery 
of that name, in the province of Salerno, founded in 980, under the observance 
of Cluni : it was the head of a Congregation of twenty-nine other abbeys, 
and ninety-one conventual priories ; but a bishopric being erected in the town 
of Cava, by Boniface IX. in 1394, and the abbot's revenue and temporal 
jurisdiction being united to it by Leo X. in 1614) the monastery of the Blessed 
Trinity of Cava was much diminished^ but is still governed by a regular 
abbot. In 1485, it was united with all its dependencies to the Congregation 
of St. Justina and Mount Cassino. The church of St. Justina at Padua, 
was founded by the Consul Opilius, in the fifth century, and the great monas- 
tery of Benedictin monks was built there in the ninth. The Reformation 
which was established in this house by Lewis Barbus, a patrician of Venice, 
in 1409, was soon adopted by a great number of monasteries in Italy ; but 
when in 1604 the abbey of Mount Cassino joined this Congregation, it took 
the name of this mother-house. The Congregation of Savigni, founded by 
St. Vitalis, a disciple of B. Robert of Arbrissei, in the forest of Savigni, in 
Normandy, in 1112, was united to the Cistercians in 1153. The Congrega- 
tion of Tiron, founded by B. Bernard of Abbeville, another disciple of B. 
Robert of Arbrissei, in 1109, in the forest of Tiron, in Le Perche. It passed 
into the Congregation of St. Maur, 1629. These of Savigni and Tiron had 
formerly several houses in England. The Congregation of Bursfield in Ger • 
many, was established by a Reformation in 1461 : that of Molck, vulgarly 
Melck, in Austria, in the diocess of Passaw, in 1418 : that of Hirsauge, ii4 
the diocess of Spire, was instituted by St. William, abbot of S. Aurel, in 1080. 
The history of this abbey was written by Trithemius. After the change of 
religion it was secularized, and, by the treaty of Westphalia, ceded to the 
duke of Wirtemberg. The independent great Benedictin abbeys in Flanders, 
form a Congregation subject only to the Pope, but the abbots hold assemblies 
to judge appeals, in which the abbot of St. Vaast of Arras is president. Tho 
Congregation of Monte- Virgine, in Italy, was instituted by St. William, in 
11 19. That of St. Benedict's of Valladolid, in Spain, dates its establishment 
in 1390. In England, archbishop Lanfranc united the Benedictin monas- 
teries in one Congregation, which began from that time to hold regular general 
chapters, and for some time bore his name. This union was made stricter 
by many new regulations in 1335, under the name of the Black Monks. It 
is one of the most illustrious of all the Orders, or bodies of religious men, that 
have ever adorned the Church, and in spite of the most grievous persecutions 
still sabsists. The Congregation of Benedictin nuns of Mount Calvary, owes 
>ts original to a Refoijnation, according to the primitive austerity of this 
Order, introduced first in the nunnery at Poitiers, in 1614, by the abbess 
Antoinette of Orleans, with the assistance of the famous F. Joseph, the Ca- 
puchin. It ha» two houses, at Paris, and eighteen others in several parts of 
¥rance. See Helyot^t. 6 and 6. Calmet, Comment, sur la Regie de St. 
Benoit, t. 2. p. 625. Kermant, Schoonbeck, &c. 

March 21.] st. benedict, a. 217 

try whether he was really that wonderful man which he was 
reported to be. Therefore, as he marched through Campania, 
in 542, he sent the man of God word, that he would pay him a 
visit. But instead of going in person he dressed one of his 
courtiers, named Riggo, in his royal purple robes, and sent him ro 
the monastery, attended by the three principal lords of his court, 
and a numerous train of pages. St. Bennet, who was then sitting, 
saw him coming to his cell, and cried out to him at some dis- 
tance : " Put off, my son, those robes which you wear, and which 
belong not to you." The mock king, being struck with a panic 
for having attempted to impose upon the man of God, fell pros- 
trate at his feet, together with all his attendants. The saint, 
coming up, raised him with his hand ; and the officer returning 
^0 his master, related trembling what had befallen him. The 
king then went himself, but had no sooner come into the presence 
of the holy abbot, but he threw himself on the ground and con- 
tinued prostrate till the saint, going to him, obliged him to rise. 
The holy man severely reproved him for the outrages he had 
committed, and said : " You do a great deal of mischief, and I 
foresee you will do more. You will take Rome : you will cross 
the sea, and will reign nine years longer: but death will overtake 
you in the tenth, when you shall be arraigned before a just God 
to give an account of your conduct." All which came to pass 
as St. Benedict had foretold him. Totila was seized with fear, 
and recommended himself to his prayers. From that day the 
tyrant became more humane; and when he took Naples, shortly 
after, treated the captives with greater lenity than could be 
expected from an enemy and a barbarian. (1) When the bishop 
of Canusa afterwards said to the saint, that Totila would leave 
Rome a heap of stones, and that it would be no longer inhabited, 
he answered : '* No : but it shall be beaten with storms and 
earthquakes, and shall be like a tree which withers by the decay 
of its root." Which prediction St. Gregory observes to have 
been accomplished. 

The death of this great saint seems to have happened soon 
after that of his sister St. Scholastica, and in the year after his 
interview with Totila. He foretold it to his disciples, and caused 
his grave to be opened six days before. When this was done he 
fell il of a fever, and on the sixth day would be carried intc the 

(i) Procop. I. 3. de Bello Gothico. Baronius, &3. 

218 ST. BENEDICT, A. [MaRCH 21 

chapel, where he received the body and blood oF our Lord,* and 
having given his last instructions to his sorrowful disdples, 
standing, and leaning on one of them, with his hands lifted up, 
he calmly expired, in prayer, on Saturday, the 21st of March, 
probably in the year 543, and of his age the sixty-third ; having 
spent fourteen years at Mount Cassino. Thf} greater part of 
his relics remains still in that abbey ; though s-ime of his bones 
were brought into France, about the close of the seventh century, 
and deposited in the famous abbey of Fleury, which, on that 
account, has long bom the name of St. Bennet's on the Loire, t 
It was founded in the reign of Clovis IL about the year 640, 
and belongs at present to the congregation of St. Maur. 

St. Gregory, in two words, expresses the characteristical 
virtue of this glorious patriarch of the monastic Order, when he 
says, that, returning from Vicovara to Sublaco, he dwelt alone 
with himself; (I) which words comprise a great and rare perfec- 
tion, in which consists the essence of holy retirement. A soul 
dwells not in true solitude, unless this be interior as well as 
.exterior, and unless she cultivate no acquaintance but with God 
and herself, admitting no other company. Many dwell in monaste- 
(1) Habitavit secam. 

* Exitum suam Dominici corporis et sanguinis peroeptione commoniyit. 
St. Greg. Dial. b. 2. c. 37. 

t Some have related that Aigulph, a monk of Fleury, and certain citizens 
from Mans, going to Mount Cassino in 663, when that monastery lay in ruins, 
brought thence the remains of St. Benedict and St, Scholastica, and placed 
those of the former at Fleury, and those of the latter at Mans. The author 
of this relation is either Adrevald or rather Adalbert, a monk of Fleury, 
whom some imagined contemporary with Aigulph ; but he certainly lived at 
lest two hundred years later, as he himself declares, and his account is in 
many capital circumstances inconsistent with those of the life of Aigulph, and 
w ith the authentic and certain history of that age, as is demonstrated by F. 
Stilting the Bollandist, in the life of St. Aigulph, (t. 1. Sept. p. 744.) and by 
others. It is printed in the Bibliotheca Floriacensis, (or of Fleury,) t. l.p. 
1. and more correctly in Mabillon's Acta Ben. t. 2. p. 337. and tie j^llan- 
dists, 21 Martij, p. 300. Soon after this relation was compiled by Adalbert, 
we find it quoted by Adrevald, a monk of the same house, in his history of 
several miracles wrought by the relics of this holy patriarch. (See Dom. 
Clemencez, Hist. Liter, t. 5. p. 616.) This Adrevald wrote also the life of 
St. Aigulph, who, passing from Fleury to Lerins, and being made abbot of 
that bouse, established there an austere Reformation of the Order : but by 
the contrivance of certain rebellious monks joined in a conspiracy with the 
count of UseZy and some other powerful men, was seized by violence, and 
carried to the isle Caprasia, (now called Capraia,) situated between Corsica 
and the coast of Tuscany, where he was murdered with three companions, 
about the year 676, on the 3rd day of September, on which he is honoured as 
a martyr at Lerins. The relics of these martyrs were honourably convcy*»d 

March 2K] st. Benedict, a. 219 

ries, or alone, without possessing the secret of living with 
themselves. Though they are removed from the conversatioa 
of the world, their minds still rove ahroad wandering from the 
consideration of God and themselves, and dissipated amidst a 
thousand exterior ohjects which their imagination presents to 
them, and which they suffer to captivate their hearts, and miser- 
ably entangle their will with vain attachments and foolish desires. 
Interior solitude requires the silence of the interior faculties of 
the soul, no less than of the tongue and exterior senses : without 
this, the inclosure of walls is a very weak fence. In this interior 
solitude, the soul collects all her faculties within herself, employs 
all her thoughts on herself and on God, and all her strength 
and affections in aspiring after him. Thus, St. Benedict dwelt 
with himself, being always busied in the presence of his Creator, 
in bewailing the spiritual miseries of his soul and past sins, in 
examining into the disorders of his affections, in watching over 
his senses, and the motions of his heart, and in a constant atten- 
tion to the perfection of his state, and the contemplation of divine 
things. This last occupied his soul in the sweet exercises of 
divine love and praise ; but the first mentioned exercises, or the 
consideration of himself and of his own nothingness and mise- 
rs es, laid the foundation by improving in him continually the 

thither soon after their death. F. Vincent Barrali, in his Histery of Lerins, 
aliirins that they still remain there ; but this can be only true of part, for th© 
t»ody of St. Aigulph was translated to the Benedictin priory at Provins, in 
the diocess of Sens, and is to this day honoured there, as Mabillon (Ssc. 2. 
ben. p. 666 and 742.) and Stilting (t. 1. Sept.) demonstrate, from the constant 
tradition of that monastery, and the authori^ of Peter Cellensis and several 
other irrefragable vouchers. 

That the greater part at least of the relics of St Benedict and St Scho- 
lastica still remain at Mount Cassino, is demonstrated by Angelus de Nuce 
in his dissertation on this subject, by F. Stilting, in his comments on the life 
of St Aigulph, t 1. Sept by Pope Benedict XIV. De Server. Dei. Beatif. 
And Canoniz. 1. 4. part 2. c. 24. n. 63. t 6. p. 245. and Macchiarelli, the monk 
of Camaldoli. Soon after Mount Cassino wa* restored. Pope Zachary visited 
ttiat monastery, and devoutly venerated the relics of St. Benedict and St 
Scholastica in 746, as he testifies in his Bull. When Pope Alexander II. 
consecrated the new church of that abbey in 1071, these sacred bones were 
inspected, and found all to remain there, as we learn from his Bull, and by 
Leo of Ostia, and Peter the deacon. The same is afi&rmed in the acts of tvro 
visitations made of them in 1546 and 1668. Nevertheless, Angelus de Nuce 
(who relates in his Chronicle of Mount Cassino, that, in 1659, he saw these 
relics, with all the monks of that house, in the visitation then made) and 
Stilting allow that some of the bones of this saint were conveyed into France, 
not by St Aigulph, but soon after his time; and this is expressly affirmed 
by Paul the deacon, in his History of the Lombards, 1. 6. c. 2. 


most profound spirit of humility and compunction. The twelve 
degrees of humility, which he lays down in his Rule,(l) are 
commended by St. Thomas Aquinas. (2) The first is a deep 
compunction of heart, and holy fear of God and his judgments, 
with a constant attention to walk in the divine presence, sunk 
under the weight of this confusion and fear. 2. The perfect 
renunciation of our own will. 3. Ready obedience. 4. Patience 
under all suiferings and injuries. 5. The manifestation of our 
thoughts and designs to our superior or director. 6. To be con- 
tent, and to rejoice, in all humiliations; to be pleased with mean 
employments, poor clothes, &c. to love simplicity and poverty, 
(which he will have among monks, to be extended even to the 
ornaments of the altar,) and to judge ourselves unworthy, and 
bad servants in every thing that is enjoined us. 7. Sincerely to 
esteem ourselves baser and more unworthy than every one, 
even the greatest sinners.* 8. To avoid all love of singularity 
in words or actions. 9. To love and practice silence. 10. To 
avoid dissolute mirth and loud laughter. 11. Never to speak 
with a loud voice, and to be modest in our words. 12. To be 
humble in all our exterior actions, by keeping our eyes humbly 
cast down with the publican,(3) and the penitent Manasses.(4) 
St. Benedict adds, that divine love is the sublime recompense 
of sincere humility, and promises, upon the warrant of the 
divine word, that God will raise that soul to perfect charity, 
which, faithfully walking in these twelve degrees, shall have 
happily learned true humility. Elsewhere he calls obedience 
with delay the first degree of humility, (5) but means the first 

(1> S. Bened. Reg. c. 7. (2) S. Thos. 2. 2. qu. 161. a. 6. 

(3) Luke xviii. 18. (4) Orat. ejus inter Apocryph. 

(5) St. Bened. Keg. c. 5. p. 210. 

• No one can, without presumption, pride, and sin, prefer himself before 
the worst of sinners, first, because the judgments of God are always secret 
and unknown to us. (See St. Aug. de Virginit. St. Thos. 2. 2. qu. 161. ad. 1. 
Cassian, St. Bern. &c.) Secondly, the greatest sinners, had they received 
tile graces with which we have been favoured, would not have been so ul- 
gratml ; and if we had been in their circumstances, into what precipices 
should not we have fallen P Thirdly, instead of looking upon notorious sin- 
ners, we ought to turn our eyes towards those who serve God with fervour, 
full of confusion to see how far so many thousands are superior to us in every 
virtue. Thus we must practise the lesson laid down ^ St. Paul, never to 
measure ourselves with any one so as to prefer ourse %e8 to another ; but to 
look upon all others as superior to us, and less ungrateful and base than our> 
svlves. Our own wretchedness and sinfulness we are acquainted with, bat 
charity inclines us to judge the best of othersu 

March 21.] st. sera?ion. 221 

among the exterior degrees; for he places before it interioi 
compunction of sou], and the renunciation of our own will. 


Called the Sindonite, from a single garment of coarse linen 
which he always wore. He was a native cf Egypt. Ex- 
ceeding great was the austerity of his penitential life. Though 
he travelled into several countries, he always lived in the sam*^ 
poverty, mortification, and recollection. In a certain town, 
commiserating the spiritual blindness of an idolater, who w^as 
also a comedian, he sold himself to him for twenty pieces of 
money. His only sustenance in this servitude was bread and 
water. He acquitted himself at the same time of every duty 
belonging to his condition with the utmost diligence and fidelity, 
joining with his labour assiduous prayer and meditation. Having 
converted his master and the whole family to the faith, and 
induced him to quit the stage, he was made free by him, 
but could not be prevailed upon to keep for his own use, or 
even to distribute to the poor, the twenty pieces of coin he had 
received as the price of his liberty. Soon after this he sold 
himself a second time, to relieve a distressed widow. Having 
spent some time with his new master, iu recompense of signal 
spiritual services, besides his liberty, he also received a cloak, 
a tunic, or under-garment, and a book of the gospels. He had 
scarcely gone out of doors, when, meeting a poor man, he bestowed 
on him his cloak; and shortly after to another starving with 
cold, he gave his tunic ; and was thus reduced again to his 
single linen garment. Being asked by a stranger who it was that 
had stripped him and left him in that naked condition, showing 
his book of the gospels, he said : " This it is that hath stripped 
jue." Not long after, he sold the book itself for the relief of 
a person in extreme distress. Being met by an old acquaint- 
ance, and asked what was become of it, he said : " Could you 
believe it ? this gospol seemed continually to cry to me ; Go, 
sell all thou hast, and give to the poor. Wherefore I have also 
sold it, and given the price to the indigent members of Christ." 
Having nothing now left but his own person, he disposed of that 
again on several other occasions, where the corporal or spiritual 
necessities of his neighbour called for relief: once to a certain 
Manichee at Lacedsemon, whom he served for two years, and 

223 ST. sERAPioN. [March 21. 

before they were expired, brought both him and his whole family 
over to the trae faith. St. John the Almoner having read the 
particulars of this history, called for his steward, and said to 
him, weeping : " Can we jQatter ourselves that we do any great 
matters because we give our estates to the poor P Here is a man 
who could find means to give himself to them, avd so many- 
times over. St. Serapion went from Lacedsemon to Rome, there 
to study the most perfect models of virtue, and, returning 
afterwards into Egypt, died in the desert, being sixty years old, 
some time before Palladius visited Egypt in 388. Henschenius, 
in his Notes on the Life of St. Auxentius,(l) and Bollandus(2) 
take notice that in certain Menaea he is honoured on the 21st 
of March; yet they have not given his acta on that day. 
Baronius confounds him with St. Serapion, the Sidonian martyr. 
See Pallad. Lausiac. ch. 83. and Leontius in the Life of Saint 
John the Almoner. 


Abbot of Araino in Upper Egypt. He governed ten thousand 
monks dispersed in the deserts and monasteries near that town. 
These religious men hired themselves to the farmers of the 
country to till their lands and reap their corn ; joining assiduous 
prayer and other exercises of their state with their labour. 
Each man received for his wages twelve artabes, or about forty 
Roman bushels or modii, says Palladius : all which they put 
into the hands of their holy abbot. He gave to every one a 
sufl&cient allowance for his subsistence during the ensuing year, 
according to their abstemious manner of living The remainder 
was all distributed among the poor. By this economy, all the 
necessities of the indigent in that country were supplied, and 
several barges loaded with corn were sent yearly by the river to 
Alexandria, for the relief of the poor of that great city. Saint 
Serapion was honoured with the priesthood, and with admirable 
sanctity applied himself to the sacred functions of the ministry : 
yet found time to join his brethren in their penitential labour, 
not to lose his share in their charity. His name is inserted by 
Canisius in his Germanic Martyrology on this day, from certain 

(1) Henschen. Not. in Vit. S. Auxentii, ad 24 Febr. t, 3. Febr. 
<e.) Bolland. ad 23 Jan. p. 508. t. 2. Jan. 

March 21.] st. SERAt»ioN, of thmuis, b. c. 223 

copies of the Greek Menaea. See Palladius, c. "76. p. *760. 
Uufin. Vit. Patr. 1. 2. c. 18. Sozomen, 1. 6. c. 28. 



The surname of the Scholastic, which was fijiven him, is a 
proof of the reputation which he acquired, bj his penetrating 
genius, and by his extensive learning, both sacred and profane. 
He presided some time in the catechetical school of Alexandria, 
but, to apply himself more perfectly to the science of the saints, 
to which he had always consecrated himself, his studies, and his 
other actions, he retired into the desert, and became a bright light 
in the monastic state. St. Athanasius assures us in his life of St. 
Antony, that in the visits which Serapion paid to that illustrious 
patriarch, St. Antony often told on his mountain, things which 
passed in Egypt at a distance ; and that at his death, he left 
him one of his tunics of hair. St Serapion was drawn out of 
his retreat, to be placed in the episcopal see of Thmuis, a 
famous city of Lower Egypt, near Diospolis, to which Stephanus 
and Ptolemy give the title of a metropolis. The name in the 
Egyptian tongue signified a goat, which animal was anciently 
worshipped there, as St. Jerom informs us. St. Serapion was 
closely linked with St. Athanasius in the defence of the Catholic 
faith — for which he was banished by the Emperor Constantius ; 
whence St. Jerom styles himself a confessor. Certain persons, 
who confessed God, the Son consubstantial to the Father, denied 
the divinity of the Holy Ghost. This error was no sooner 
broached, but our saint strenuously opposed it, and informed 
St. Athanasius of this new inconsistent blasphemy ; and that 
zealous defender of the adorable mystery of the Trinity, thf: 
fundamental article of the Christian faith, wrote against this 
rising monster. The four letters which St. Athanasius wrote to 
Serapion, in 369, out of the desert, in which at that time he lay 
concealed, were the first express confiitation of the Macedonian 
heresy that was published. St. Serapion ceased not to employ 
his labours to great advantage, against both the Arians and 
Macedonians. He also compiled an excellent book against the 
Manichees, in which he shows that our bodies may be made the 
instruments of good, and that our souls may be perverted b;/ 

224 ST. ENNA, A. [March 21, 

sin; that there is no creature of which a good ose may not be 
made ; and that both just and wicked men are often changed, 
the former by falling into sin, the latter by becoming virtuous. 
It is, therefore, a self-contradiction to pretend with the Mani- 
chees that our souls are the work of God, but our bodies cf the 
devil, or the evil principle.* St. Serapion wrote several learned 
letters, and a treatise on the Titles of the Psalms, quoted by 
St. Jerom, which are now lost. At his request, St. Athanasius 
composed several of his works against the Arians ; and so groat 
was his opinion of our saint, that he desired him to correct, or 
add to them what he thought wanting. Socrates relates(l) 
that St. Serapion gave an abstract of his own life, and an 
abridged rule of Christian perfection in very few words, which 
he would often repeat, saying : " The mind is purified by spiritual 
knowledge, (or by holy meditation and prayer,) the spiritual 
passions of the soul by charity, and the irregular appetites by 
abstinence and penance." This saint died in his banishment 
in the fourth age, and is commemorated on this day in the 
Roman Martyrology. See his works, those of St. Athanasius 
in several places, St. Jerom, Catal. c. 99. Socrates, 1. 4. c. 23. 
Sozom. 1. 4. c. 9. Photius, Cod. 85. Tillem. t. 8. Ceillier, t. 6. 
p. 36. 


His father, Conall Deyre, was lord of Ergall, a large territory 
in Ulster, in which principality Enna succeeded him ; but by 
the pious exhortations of his sister, St. Fanchea, abbess of 
Kill-Aine, at the foot of Mount Bregh, in the confines of Meath, 
he left the world, and became a monk. Going abroad, by her 
advice, he lived some time in the abbey of Rosnal, or the 
vale of Ross, under the abbot Mansenus. At length returning 
Lome, he obtained of Mngus, king of Munster, a grant of the 
isle of Arra, or Am, wherein he founded a great monastery 

(1) Socrat. Hist. 1. 4. o. 23. 

* A Latin translation of St. Serapion's book against the Manichees, given 
by F. Turrianus the Jesuit, is published in the Bibliotheca Patrum, printed 
at Lyons, and in F. Canisius^s Lectiones Antiques, t. 5. part 1. p. 36. The 
learned James Basnage, who republished this work of Canisius, with carious 
additions and notes, has added the Greek text, t. 1. p. 37, 

March 22.] st. basil of ancyra, m. ^5 

in which he trained up many disciples, illustrious for sanctity, 
insomuch that the island was called Arran, of the Saints. His 
death must have happened in the beginning of the sixth 
century. The chief church of the island is dedicated to God 
in his name, and called Kill-Enda. His tomb is shown in the 
church-yard of another church, in the same island, named 
Teglach-Enda. See F. Colgan, March 21. 


From the authentic acts of his martyrdom in Kainart, Henschenius, and 
Tillemont, t 7. p. 375. 

A.D. 362. 

Mabcellus, bishop of Ancyra, distinguished himself by his 
zeal against the Arians, on which account he was banished by 
Constantius in 336.* Basil, a ringleader of the Semi-Arians, 
was introduced into that see, but was himself deposed by the 
stanch Arians, in 360 ; and is mentioned by Socrates to have 
survived our saint, though he continued still in banishment 
under Jovian. The holy martyr of whom we speak was also 

* Marcellus wrote a famous book against the Arians, which Eusebius of 
Csesarea and all the Arians condemned, as reviving the exploded heresy of 
Sabellius. But Sabellianism was a general slander with which they aspersed 
all orthodox pastors. It is indeed true, that St. Hilary, St. Basil,' St. Chry- 
sostom, and Sulpicius Severus charge Marcellus with that error ; but were 
deceived bv the clamours of the Arians. For Marcellus appealing to Pope 
Julius, and repairing to Kome, was acquitted, and his book declared orthodox 
by that pope in 341, and also by the council of Sardica, in 347 ; as St. Hilary 
(fragm. 3. p. 1308. 1311.) and St. Athanasius (Apol. contra Arianos, p. 165.) 
•estily. It was a calumny of the Arians, though believed by St. Hilary, 
that St. Athanasius at length abandoned and condemned him. It is demon- 
strated by Dom. Montfaucon from the works of St. Athanasius, that he ever 
defended the innocence of Marcellus. (t. 2. Collect. Patr.) Moreover, Mar- 
cellus being informed that St. Basil had suggested to St. Athanasius certain 
suspicions of his faith, in 372, towards the end of his life, sent to St. Atha- 
nasius his most orthodox confession of faith, in which he explicitly condemns 
Sabellianism ; which authentic monument was published by Montfaucon. (t. 
2. Collect. Patr. p. 65.) If Patavius, Bull, and others, who censure Mar- 
cellus, had seen this confession, they would have cleared him of the imputa- 
tion of Sabellianism, and expounded favourably certain ambiguous expressions 
which occu*red in his book against the Arians, which is now lost, and was 
cum plied against a work of Asterius the Sophist, sumamed the advocate of 
the Anans. 



called Basil. He was priest of Aneyra under the bishop 
MarcelliiS) aod a man of a most holy life, and unblemished 
conversation, and had been trained up by saints in the practices 
of perfect piety. He - preached the word of God with great 
assiduity, and when the Arian wolf, who bore his name, at- 
tempted to plant his heresy in that city, he never ceased to 
cry out to the people, with the zeal and intrepidity of a prophet, 
exhorting them to beware of the snares which were laid for 
them, and to remain steadfast in the Catholic faith. He was 
forbidden by the Arian bishops, in 360, to hold ecclesiastical 
assemblies: but he despised the unjust order; and as boldly 
defended the Catholic faith before Constantius himself When 
Julian the Apostate reestablished idolatry, and left no means 
antried to pervert the faithful, Basil ran through the whole city, 
exhorting the Christians to continue steadfast, and not pollute 
themselves with the sacrifices and libations of the heathens, 
but fight manfully in the cause of God. The heathens laid 
violent hands on him, and dragged him before Saturninus the 
proconsul, accusing him of sedition, of having overturned altars, 
that he stirred up the people against the gods, and had spoken 
irreverently of the emperor and his religion. The proconsul 
asksd hin. if the religion which the emperor had established 
was not the truth ? The martyr answered: *' Can you yourself 
believe it ? Can any man endued with reason persuade hiri> 
self that dumb statues are gods ?" The proconsul commanded 
lau to be tortured on the rack, and scoffing, said to him, under 
his torments: "Do not you belie\e the power of the emperor 
to be great, who can punish those who disobey him.? Experi- 
ence is an excellent master, and will inform you better. Obey 
the emperor, worship the gods, and offer sacrifice." The martyr, 
who prayed during his torments, with great earnestness, replied : 
" It is what I never will do." The proconsul remanded him 
to prison, and informed his master Julian of what he had done. 
The emperor approved of his proceedings, and despatched Elpi- 
dius and Pegasus, two apostate courtiers, in quality of commis- 
saries, to assist the proconsul in the trial of the prisoner. They 
took with them from Nicomedia one Aslepius, a wicked prie&t 
d Esculapius, and arrived at Aneyra. Basil did not cease to 
praise and glorii^^ God in his dungeon, and Pegasus repaired 
Vhither to him in hopes, by promises and entreaties, to work 
hJm into compliance* but came back to the proconsul high.!y 



offended at the liberty with which the martyr had reproached 
him with his apostasy. At the request of the commissaries, 
the proconsul ordered him to be again brought before them, and 
tormented on the rack with greater cruelty than before; and 
afterwards to be loaded with the heaviest irons, and lodged in 
the deepest dungeon. 

In the mean time, Julian set out from Constantinople for 
Antioch, in order to prepare for his Persian expedition. From 
Chalcedon he turned out of his road to Pessinunte, a town in 
Galatia, there to offer sacrifice in a famous temple of Cibeje. 
In that town he condemned a certain Christian to be beheaded 
for the faith, and the martyr went to execution with as much 
joy as if he had been called to a banquet. When Julian arrived 
at Ancyra, St. Basil was presented before him, and the crafty 
emperor, putting on an air of compassion, said to him : '^ I 
myself am well skilled in your mysteries ; and I can inform you, 
that Christ, in whom you place your trust, died under Pilate, 
and remains among the dead." The martyr answered : *' You 
are deceived; you have renonnced Christ at a time when he 
conferred on you the empire. But he will deprive you of it, 
together with your life. As you have thrown down his altars, 
so will he overturn your throne: and as you have violated 
his holy law, which you had so often announced to the people, 
(when a Reader in the church,) and have trodden it under your 
feet, your body shall be cast forth without the honour of a burial, 
and shall be trampled upon by men." Julian replied : " I designed 
to dismiss thee : but thy impudent manner of rejecting my advice, 
and uttering reproaches against me, force me to use thee ill. 
It is therefore my command, that every day thy skin be torn 
off thee in seven different places till thou hast no more left/ 
He then gave it in charge to count Frumentinus, the captain 
of his guards, to see this barbarous sentence executed. The 
saint, after having suffered with wonderftil patience the first 
incisions, desired to speak to the emperor. Frumentinus would 
be himself the bearer of this message to Julian, not doubting 
but Basil intended to comply and offer sacrifice. Julian instantly 
ordered that the confessor should meet him in the temple of 
Esoulapius. He there pressed him to join him in offering sacri- 
fices. But the martyr replied, that he could never adore blind 
and deaf idols. And taking a piece of his fie^h which had been 
out out of his body that day, and still hung to it by a bit of 

228 ST. BASIL or anctra, m. [March 22. 

skin, he threw it upon Julian. The emperor went out in great 
indignation: and count Fmmentinus, fearing his displeasure, 
studied how to revenge an insult, for which he seemed respon- 
sible to his master. He therefore mounted his tribunal, and 
ordered the torments of the martyr to be redoubled; and so 
deep were the incisions made in his fleshy that his bowels were 
exposed to view, and the spectators wept for compassion. The 
martyr prayed aloud all the time, and at evening was carried 
back to prison. Next morning Julian set out for Antioch, and 
would not see Frumentinus. The count resolved to repair his 
disgrace, or at least to discharge his reientment by exerting his 
rage upon the servant of Christ. But to his thundering threats 
Basil answered : " Ton know how many pieces of flesh have 
been torn from my body : yet look on my shoulders and sides : 
see if any wounds appear? Know that Jesus Christ this night 
hath heided me. Send this news to your master Julian, that he 
may know the power of God whom he hath forsaken. He hath 
overturned his altars, who was himself concealed under them 
when he was sought by Constantius to be put to death. But 
God hath discovered to me that his tyranny shall be shortly 
extinguished with his life." Frumentinus seemed no longer able 
to contain his rage, and commanded the saint to be laid upon his 
belly, and his back to be pierced with red-hot iron spikes. The 
martyr expired under these torments on the 29th of June, in 
362. But his name is honoured both by the Latins and Greeks 
on the 22nd of March. 

The love of God, which triumphed in the breasts of the 
martyrs, made them regard as nothing whatevel labours, losses, 
or torments they suffered for its sake, according *to that of 
the Canticles : If a man shaU have given all that he possesses, 
he will despise it as nothing. If the sacrifice of worldly honours, 
goods, friends, and life be required of such a one, he makes it 
with joy, saying with the Royal Prophet, What have I desired 
in heaven or on earth, besides thee, O God ! Thou art my 
portion for ever. If he lives deprived of consolation and joy, 
in interior desolation and spiritual dryness, he is content to 
bear his cross, provided he be united to his God by love, and 
says, My God and my all, if I possess you, I have all things in 
you alone : whatever happens to me, with the treasure of your 
love I am rich and sovereignly happy. This he repeats \\\ 
poverty, disgraces, aflflictions, and persecutions. He rejoices 

March 22.] st. deogbatias, b. c. 22'J 

in them, as by thrm lie is more closely united to his God, gives 
the strongest proof of his fidelity to him, and perfect submission to 
his divine appointments, and adores the accomplishment of his will. 
If it be the property of true love, to receive crosses with content 
and joy, to sustain great labours, and think them small, or rather 
not to think of them at all, as they bear no proportion to the 
prize, to what we owe to God, or to what his love deserves : 
to suffer much, and think all nothing, and the longest and 
severest trials short ; is it not a mark of a want of this love, 
to complain of prayer, fasts, and every Christian duty ? how 
far is this disposition from the fervour and resolution of all the 
saints, and from the heroic courage of the martyrs ! 


St. Gregory of Tours informs us,(l) that he was sent with other 
preachers from Rome to plant the faith in Gaul. St. Saturninus 
of Thoulouse, and St. Dionysius of Paris, were crowned with 
martyrdom: but St. Paul of Narbonne, St. Trophimus of Arlee, 
St. Martial of Limoges, and St. Gatian of Tours, after having 
founded those churches amidst many dangers, departed in 
peace. Prudentius says,(2) that the name of Paul had rendered 
the city of Narbonne illustrious. 


She was a rich Roman lady ; after the death of her husband 
she mortified her flesh by wearing rough sack-cloth, passed 
whole nights in prayer, and by humility seemed every one's 
menial servant. She died in 384, and is honoured on this day 
in the Roman Martyrology. St. Jerom makes an elegant com- 
parison between her death and that of Prsetextatus, a heathen, 
who was that year appointed consul, but snatched away by 
death at the same time. — See St. Jerom, Ep. 20. (olim. 24.) to 
Marcella, t. 4. p. 51. Ed. Ben. 


Genseric, the Arian king of the Vandals, took Carthage in 439, 
filled the city with cruelties, and caused Quodvultdeus, tl 9 

(l) Hist. Franc. 1. 1. c. 30. (2) Hymn. 4. 


2S0 ST. caihakinji of swedes, ▼. [March 22. 

bithop, and maDj others, to be put on board an old leaky 
vessel, who, notwithstanding, arriyed safe at Naples. After 
a vacancy of fourteen years, in 454, St Deogratias was con- 
secrated archbishop. Two years after, Genseric plundered 
Rome, and brought innumerable captives from Italy, Sidly, 
Sardinia, and Corsica, into Africa, whom the Moors and Vandals 
shared among them on the shore, separating without any regard 
or compassion weeping wives from their husbands, and children 
from their parents. Deogratias sold every thing, even the gold 
and silver vessels of the church, to redeem as many as possible ; 
he provided them with lodgings and beds, and famished them 
with all succours, and though in a decrepit old age, visit«d those 
who were sick every day, and often in the night. "Worn out 
by these fatigues, he died in 457, to the inexpressible grief of 
the prisoners, and of his own flock. The ancient calendar of 
Carthage, written in the fifth age, commemorates him on the 
6th of January ; but the Roman on the 22nd of March. See 
St. Victor Vitensis, 1. 1. c. 3. 


She was daughter of Ulpho, prince cf Nericia in Sweden, and 
of St. Bridget. The love of God seemed almost to prevent in 
her the use of her reason. At seven years of age she was 
placed in the nunnery of Risburgh, and educated in piety under 
the care of the holy abbess of that house. Being very beautiful, 
she was, by her father, contracted in marriage to Egard, a 
young nobleman of great virtue : but the virgin persuaded him 
to join with her in making a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. 
By her discourses he became desirous only of heavenly graces, 
and, to draw them down upon his soul more abundantly, he 
readily acquiesced in the proposal. The happy couple, having 
6ut one heart and one desire, by a holy emulation excited each 
other to prayer, mortification, and works of charity. After the 
death of her father, St. Catharine, out of devotion to the passion 
of Christ, and to the relics of the martyrs, accompanied her 
mother in her pilgrimages and practices of devotion and penance. 
After her death at Rome, in 1373, Cs^tharine returned to Sweden, 
and died abbess of Vadzstena, or Vatzen,* on the 24th of 

* The great monastery of oar Saviour at Wasten or Vatzen in the diooess 
of Lincopen, was first fo'unded by St. Bridget, 11 1644 but rebuilt m a moT^ 


March 23.] st. alphonsus tubibius, b. c. 231 

March, in 1381.* For the last twenty-five years of her life 
she every day purified her soul by a sacramental confession of 
her sins. Her name stands in the Roman Martyroloffy on the 
22nd of March. See her life written by Ulpho, a Brigittine 
friar, thirty years after her death, with the remarks of Hen- 



From hit life by F. Cyprian de Herrera, dedicated to Pope Clemeut X., 
uhI the acts of his canonization. 

A.D. 1606. 

St. Toribio, or Tubibius Alphonsus Mogeobejo, was second 
wa to the Lord of Mogrohejo, and horn in the kingdom of 
Leon, on the 16th of Novemher, in 1538. From his infancy 
he discovered a strong inclination to piety ; and, in his child- 
hood, it was his delight^ at times of recreation, to erect anc 
adorn altars and to serve the poor. He tremhled at the very 
shadow of sin. One day, seeing a poor pedlar woman angry 
because she had lost something out of her pack, he most 
movingly entreated and exhorted her, that she would not offend 
God by passion; and, in order to appease her, gave her the 
value of her loss, which he had begged c^ his mother for that 
purpose. He was very devout to the Blessed Virgin, said 
every day her Office and Rosary, and fasted every Saturday 

conTenient gitoation in 1384, when the nuns and (nan were introduced «i^ 
great solemnity hy the bishop of Lincopen. This is called its foundation in 
the exact chronicle of Sweden, pablished by Beuzelius. Monum. Suec. p. 94, 
* St. Catharine of Sweden compiled a pious book, entitled, Sielinna Tro^t, 
that is, Consolation to the Soul, which fills one hundred and sixty-five leayeF 
in folio, in a MS., on vellum, mentioned by Stiemman, Sur 1' £tat db« 
Sciences en Suede, dans les temps recul^s. The saint modestly says in ber 
preface, that as a nee ^thers honey out of yarious flowers, and a physician 
make? choice of medicinal roots for the composition of his remedies, ttad a 
virgin makes up a garland out of a variety of flowers, so she has collected 
from the holy scriotures and other good book^ chosen rules and maxiins ot 


in her honour. Whilst at school, he usually gave part of his 
slender dinner to the poor, and was so much addicted to fasting, 
that his superiors were ohliged, by strict commands, to compel 
him to moderate his austerities. He began his higher studies 
at Yalladolid, but completed them at Salamanca. He was 
introduced early to the notice of King Philip H., honoured by 
him with several dignities, and made president or chief judge 
at Granada. This ofl&ce he discharged during five years with 
so much integrity, prudence, and virtue, that the eyes of the 
whole kingdom were fixed on him, and his life in the world 
was a holy noviceship to the pastoral charge. The pressing 
necessities of the infant church of Peru required a prelate who 
inherited, in a distinguished manner, the spirit of the apostles ; 
and the archbishopric of Lima, falling vacant, Turibius was 
unanimously judged the person of all others the best qualified 
to be an apostle of so large a country, and to remedy the 
scandals which obstructed the conversion of the infidels. The 
king readily nominated him to that dignity, and all parties 
concerned applauded the choice. Turibius was thunderstruck 
at this unexpected news, and had no sooner received the message, 
but he cast himself on the ground at the foot of his crucifix^ 
praying with many tears that God would deliver him from so 
heavy a burden, which he thought absolutely above his strength. 
He wrote the most urgent letters to the king's council, in which 
he pleaded his incapacity, and other impediments, and laid 
great stress on the canons, which forbid laymen to be promoted 
to such dignities in the church. This humility it was that 
obtained the succour of heaven by which he performed wonders 
in the service of souls. Being compelled by obedience to 
acquiesce, he at length testified his submission by falling on his 
knees and kissing the ground. 

After a suitable preparation, he received the four minor 
orders on four successive Sundays, the better to dispose himself 
for the functions of each ; and after passing through the other 
orders, he was consecrated bishop. Immediately after which 
he set out for Peru, and Landed at Lima, in the year 1581, of 
his age the forty-third. That diocess is extended one hundrccl 
and thirty -leagues along the coast, comprising three cities, and 
many tcwms and villages, with innumerable cottages scattered 
over two ridges of the mountains of the Andes, esteemed the 
highest and most rugged in the world. Some of the European 

March 23.] st. alphoxsus turibius, b. c. 233 

generals, who first invaded that country, were men who seemed 
to measure everything hy their insatiable avarice and ambition, 
and had so far lost all sentiments of humanity towards the 
poor savages, that they deserved the name rather of tyrants 
and plunderers than of conquerors. Civil wars and dissensions 
completed the misfortune of that country ; and covetousness, 
cruelty, treachery, fraud, and debauchery seemed triumphant. 
Nor were the repeated orders of the. Spanish court able to redress 
these evils. The sight of these disorders moved the good 
pastor often to tears, but his prudence and zeal overcame all 
difficulties, extirpated public scandals, and made that kingdom 
a flourishing portion of the Christian Church. Upon his arrival 
he immediately began a visitation of his vast diocess : an un- 
dertaking of incredible fatigue, and attended with many dangers. 
He often crept over the steepest and most rugged mounjbains, 
covered with ice or snow, to visit some poor hut of Indians, 
and give them suitable comfort and instruction. He travelled 
often on foot, and sometimes barefoot, and by fasting and prayer 
never ceased to implore the divine mercy for the salvation of 
the souls committed to his charge. He placed everywhere able 
and zealous pastors, and took care that no one in the most 
remote corners of the rocks should be left; destitude of the means 
of instruction and of the benefit of the sacraments. To settle 
and maintain discipline, he appointed diocesan synods to be held 
every two years, and provincial synods every seven ; and was 
vigilant and severe in chastising the least scandal, especially of 
avarice, in the clergy. "Without respect of persons, he reproved 
injustices and vice, and made use of all the means which his 
authority put into his hands, to check the insolence of public 
sinners, and to protect the poor from oppression. Many of the 
first conquerors and governors of Peru, before the arrival of 
the most virtuous viceroy Francis of Toledo, were men who 
often sacrificed every thing to their passions, and for their 
private ends. From some of these the saint suffered many 
persecutions, and was often thwarted by them in the discharge 
of his duty. But by the arms of meekness and patience he 
overcame all affronts and injuries, and with an invincible 
constancy he maintained the rights of justice and truth. He 
showed that many sinners misconstrued the law of God to make it 
favour their passions ; but that, as Tertullian observes, " Christ 
calls himself the truth, not custom," and will weigh our actions 

234 ST. ALPHOSSl 8 TURIBIUS, B. C. [MaBCH 23. 

not in the false baj^voce of the world, but in the true scales of the 
sanotuary. Thus he extirpated the most inveterate abuses,* and 
established with so great fervour the pure maxims of the gospel, 
as to revive in many the primitive spirit of Christianity. To 
extend and perpetuate the advantages of religion, which by his 
zeal he had procured, he filled this country with seminaries, 
charchoo, and many hospitals ; but would never suffer his own 
name to be recorded in any of his munifioent charities or founda- 
tiouF. When he was at Lima, he every day visited several hos- 
pitals, comforted and exhorted the sick, and administered the 
sacraments. When a pestilence, though that calamity is seldom 
known in Peru, raged in some parts of his diocess, Turibius 
distributed his own necessaries in relieving the afflicted: he 

* The Indiana were infamoas for their debaucheries, and became so font! 
of the Spanish wines, after having once tasted them, that to purchase a small 
quantity they would give all their gold, and were never sober as long as they 
bad wine to drink. But their crimes, which justly provoked the anger of 
heaven, could not justify the cruelty of their European enemies, in whom 
avarice seemed to nave extinguished the sentiments both of humanity and 
religion. The missionary priests endeavoured in vain to put a stop to die out- 
x^i^es of their countrymen; and the Dominicans carried repeated complaints 
against -hem to the kings of Spain. At their remonstrances, Fermnand, 
king of Castile, declared the Indians f?ee, and forbade the Spaniards to em- 
ploy them in carrying burdens, or to use a stick or whip in chastising them. 
The Emperor Charles Y. was prevailed upon to send into America severe 
orders and regulations in their favour, but to very little effect. The officers, 
who assumed the haughty titles of conquerors, of Mexico and Peru, would 
not be controlled. Bailholemew de las Casas, a Dominican, and bishop of 
Chiapa, in New Spain, made four fruitless voyages into Castile to plead the 
cause of the poor Indians ; he oHained ample rescripts from the ung, and 
was constituted by him protector general of the Indians in America. But 
these expedients proved too weak against men who were armed. He there- 
fore resigned his oishopric into the hands of the pope, in 1651, and returned 
into the convent of his order at Yalladolid ; where he wrote his books. On 
the Destruction of the Indians by the Spaniards, and On the Tyranny of the 
Spaniards in the Indies, both dedicated to King Philip II. The archbishop 
of Seville, and the universities of Salamanca and Alcala forbade the impres- 
6'on of the answers which some had written to defend the Spanish govemom, 
on principles repugnant to the law of nature and of nations. These books of 
las-Casas, being translated into French, were scattered among the people in 
the Low Countries, who had taken up arms against the Spaniards, and 
animated them exceedingly in their revolt. But the crimes of some ought 
not to be imputed to a nation : and the same country which gave birth to some 
monsters was most fruitful in saints, and produced the most zealous apostles 
and defenders of the Indians. The great principle which las-Casas defended 
in the emperor's council, and in his writings, was, that the conquered Indians 
could not, without injustice, be made slaves to the Spaniards, which the kingV 
council and the divines agreed to with regard to those who had not been 
taken armed in just wars. See the history of the isle of Saint Dominirc. bv 
F. Charlevoix. ^ ' ^ 

March 23.] st. alphonsus turtbius, b. c. 235 

preached penance, because sins are the cause of chastisements 
and infinitely ihe worst of evils. He walked in the processions, 
bathed in tears, with his eyes always on a crucifix, and offering 
himself to God for hi« flock ; fasted, watched, and prayed for 
them, without intermission, till God was pleased to remove his 

Nothing gave the saint so much pleasure as the greatest 
labours and dangers, to procure the least spiritual advantage to 
one soul. Burning with the most vehement desire of laying 
down his life for his flock, and of suffering all things for him 
who died for us, he feared no dangers. When he heard that 
poor Indians wandered in the mountains and deserts, he sought 
them out; and to comfort, instruct, or gain one of them, he 
often suffered incredible fatigues and dangers in the wildernesses, 
and boldly travelled through the haunts of lions and tigers. He 
spent seven years in performing his first visitation : his second 
employed him four years, but the third was shorter. He con- 
verted innumerable infidels, and lefl everywhere monuments of 
his charity. In travelling, he either prayed or discoursed on 
heavenly things. On his arrival at a place, it was his custom 
to repair first to the church to pray before the altar. To catechise 
the poor, he would sometimes stay two or three days in places 
where he had neither bed nor any kind of food. He visited every 
part of his vast diocess : and when others suggested to him the 
dangers that threatened him firom rocks, precipices, marshes, 
rivers, robbers, and savages, his answer was that as Christ came 
from heaven to save man, we ought not therefore to fear dangers 
for the sake of immortal glory. He preached and catechised 
without intermission, having for this purpose learned, in his 
old age, all the various languages of the barbarous nations of 
that country. Even on his joumies he said mass every day with 
wonderful fervour and devotion. He always made a long medi- 
tation before and after it, and usually went to confession every 
morning ; though they who best knew his interior, testified, that 
they were persuaded he had never in his whole life forfeited his 
baptismal innocence by any mortal sin. He seemed to have 
God and the divine honour alone before his eyes in all his 
words and actions, so as to give little or no attention to any- 
thing else; by which means his prayer perpetual. He 
retired in private to that exercise often in the day, and for a 
long time together. In it his countenance seemed often to 


rbioe with a divine light. The care with which he studied to 
disguise and conceal his great mortificatians and works of piety, 
was the proof of his sincere humility. His muniEcence in 
delieving the poor of every class, especially those who were too 
bashful to make their necessities publicly known, always ex- 
hausted his revenues. The decrees of his provinda. council? 
are monuments of his zeal, piety, learning, and discretion : 
they have been ever since esteemed, not only in the new world, 
but also in Europe, and at Rome itself, as oracles. The flourishing 
state of the church of Peru, the great numbers of saints and 
eminent pastors with which it abounded, and the establishment 
of innumerable seminaries of piety and learning, aud hospitals 
for the poor, were the fruit of his zeal. If he did not originally 
plant the faith, he was at least the great propagator of it, and 
the chi«f instrument of God in removing scandals and advancing 
true piety in that vast country, which till then had been a land 
of abominations ; whilst Francis of Toledo, the great viceroy^ 
first setUed the civil government in peace and tranquillity by 
salutary laws, which have procured him the title of the Legis- 
lator of Peru. St. Turibius, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, 
in 1606, during the visitation of his diocess, fell sick at Santa, 
a town one hundred and ten leagues distant from Lima. He 
foretold his death, and ordered him to be rewarded who should 
bring him the first account from his physician that his recovery 
was despaired of. The ardour of his faith, his hope, his love 
of his Creator and Redeemer, his resignation and perfect sacri- 
fice of himself, gathered strength in the fervent exercises and 
aspirations which he repeated almost without ceasing in his 
illness. By his last will he ordered what he had about him to 
be distributed among his servants, and whatever else he other- 
wise possessed to be given to the poor. He would be carried to 
the church, there to receive the holy Viaticum: but received 
extreme unction in his sick bed. He often repeated those words 
of St. Paul : I desire to he dissolvedy and to be with Christ, 
And in his last moments he ordered to be sung, by his bed-side, 
those of the Psalmist : I rejoiced in the things that were said ta 
me: We shall go into the house of the Lord, He died on the 
23rd of March, repeating those other words of the same pro- 
phet : Into thy hands I commend my spirit. His body being 
translated the year after to Lima, was found incorrupt, the joints 
tiexible, and the ekin soft. His historian, and the acts of the 

March 23.] st. alphonsus turibius, b. c. 237 

canonization, mention many sick restored to their fiealth, and a 
girl raised to li/e by him whilst he was living : also many mira- 
cles wrought through his intercession after his death. He was 
beatified by Innocent TA. in 1679,(1) and solemnly canonized 
be Pope Benedict XIII. in 1726. On the miracles wrought by 
his intercession, see Benedict XIV.(2) and especially the acts of 
his canonization. 

A pastor of souls must be- careful to animate all his exterior 
actions and labours in the service of his neighbour, with the 
interior spirit of compunction, humility, zeal, charity, and tender 
devotion. Without this he losei the fruit of all the pains he 
lakes, and by them will often viSJerve only chastisements in 
the world to come ; so much will his intention and the affec- 
tions of his heart be infected with self-love, and depraved by 
various imperfections, and secret sinister desires even in the 
most holy functions. Therefore;, a fervent noviciate, employed 
m the exercises of an interior life, ought to be a part of the 
preparation for this state; and in the discharge of his duties, 
a person ought always to unite contemplation with action, and 
reserve to himself 8uj£dent time for conversing with God 
and his own soul, and taking a frequent review of his own 
interior. From his labours he must return frequently to prayer, 
and constantly nourish in his soul a spirit of fervent devotion, 
which will thus accompany all his exterior actions, and keep 
his thoughts and affections always united to God. Those who are 
not faithful in thus maintaining and improving in themselves an 
interior spirit of piety, and in watching with fear and compunction 
over the motives of their own hearts, will generally advance very 
little the kingdom of Christ in the souls of others, and are in 
great danger of losing their own. This is what St. Bernard 
feared in his disciple Pope Eugenius III. whom he conjured 
with tears never to give himself up entirely to the care of others, 
80 as not to live also for himself; so to communicate a spirit 
of p'ety to others, as not to suffer it to be drained in his own 
heart ; to be a basin to hold it, not a pipe for it to run through.* 
This lesson is applicable, with due proportion to other states, 

(1) Bened. XIY. De Beatif. et Canoniz. I. 1. Append, p. 496. 

(2) De Servor. Dei Canoniz. Komoe, 1738. fol. t. 4. Tr. de Miraoulia, o. 1(k 
p. 196. 

* Tuus e»to ubiqne : concha esto, non canalis. S. Bern. 1. de Con«id. 

23S 88. VICTOBIAN^ &a luc [Mabch 23. 

especially that of teaching the sciences, in which the exercisies 
of an interior life are so much the more necessary, as the em- 
ployment is more distracting, more tnmnltnous, and more exposed 
to the waves of vanity, jealoosy, and other secret and petty 



HuNEEic, the Ariau king of the Vandals in Africa, succeeded 
his father Geuseric in 477. He hehaved himself at first with 
moderation towards the Catholics, so that they hegan to hold 
their assemblies in those places where they had been pro- 
hibited by Genseric : but in 480, he began a grievous persecu- 
tion of the clergy and holy virgins, which in 484, became general, 
and occasioned vast numbers of the Catholics being put to 
death. Y ictorian, a citizen of Adrumetum, one of the principal 
lords of the kingdom, had been made by him governor of 
Carthage with the Roman title of proconsul. He was the 
wealthiest subject the king had, who placed great confidence in 
him, and he had ever behaved with an inviolable fidelity. 
The king, after he had published his cruel edicts, sent a 
message to the proconsul in the most obliging terms, promising, 
if he would conform to his religion, and execute his orders, to 
heap on him the greatest wealth and the highest honours which 
it was in the power of a prince to bestow. The proconsui, who, 
amidst the glittering pomp of the world perfectly understood 
its emptiness, made on the spot this generous answer : " Tell 
the king that I trust in Christ If his majesty please he 
may condemn me to the flames, or to wild iieasts, or to any 
torments ; but I shall never consent to renounce the Catholic 
church in which I have been baptized. Even if there were 
no other life after this, I would never be ungrateful and per- 
fidious to God, who hath granted me the happiness of knowing 
him, and who hath bestowed on me his most precious graces.*' 
The tyrant became furious at this answer: nor can the 
tortures be imagined which he caused the saint to endure. 
Victorian suffered them with joy, and amidst them finished his 
glorious martyrdom. The Roman Martyrology joins with him 
on this day four others, who were crowned in the same persecu- 

March 23.] ss, Victorian, &c. mm. 239 

tion. Two brothers of the city of Aquae-regiae, Id the province 
of Byzacena, were apprehended for the faith, and conducted 
to Tabaia in the same province. They had promised each other, 
if possible, to die together ; and they begged it of God as a 
favour, that they might both suffer the same torments. The 
persecutors hung them in the air with great weights at their 
feet. One of them, under the excess of pain, begged to be taken 
down for a little ease. His brother, fearing this desire of ease 
might by degrees move him to deny his faith, cried out from 
the rack on which he was hanging : ** God forbid, dear brother, 
that you should ask such a thing. Is this what we promised 
to Jesus Christ? Should not I accuse you at his terrible 
tribunal P Have you forgotten what we have sworn upon his 
body and blood, to suffer death together for his holy name." 
By these words the other was so wonderfully encouraged that 
he cried out : " No, no ; I ask not to be released ; on the 
contrary, add new weights if you please, increase my tortures, 
exert all your cruelties till they are exhausted upon me." They 
were then burnt with red-hot plates of iron, and tormented so 
long and by so many new engines of torture, that the ex- 
ecutioners at last left them, saying: ^^ Every body follows 
their example, no one now embraces our religion." This they 
said, chiefly, because, notwithstanding they had been so long 
and so grievously tormented, there were no scars or bruises 
to be seen upon them. Two merchants of Carthage, who both 
bore the name of Frumentius, suffered martyrdom about the 
same time, and are joined with St. Yictorian in the martyr- 
ologies. Among many glorious confessors at that time, one 
Liberatus, an eminent physician, was sent into banishment 
with his wife. He only grieved to see his infant children 
torn from him. His wife checked his tears by these generous 
words : '' Think no more of them, Jesus Christ himself will 
have care of them, and protect their souls. Whilst in prison, 
she was told by the heretics that her husband had conformed : 
accordingly, when she met him at the bar before the judge, 
she upbraided him in open court for having basely abandoned 
God : but discovered by his answer that a cheat had been put 
upon her to deceive her into her ruin. Twelve young children, 
when dragged away by the persecutors, held their companions 
by the knees till they were torn away by violence. They 
were most cruelly beaten and scourged every day for a Inog 


\\\m\ (hv (tiiiflnal Authentio ROts of his trial in Hens'^beniui). Kuinart, 
|s 4(Ki. Tillcmoiit, t 4. p. 248. CeiUieP) U 3. p. 497. 

A.D. 304. 

St. lllKN.KUs. UisUop of Siruiium, capital of part of Pannonia, 
(now 8ii luis^ch, a villt^;^' iu Hungary, twenty-two leagues from 
l»uda to tho South,) in the j^erseoution of Diodesian was appre- 
hoiuUM uud ctuiduet\Hl before Probus, the gorernor of Pannonia, 
wIm> Buuil to him : " The divine laws oblige all men to sacrifice 
to the gvnU/* ireuMus aiidwon^d: •* Into hell fire shall he be 
thn>wu, whiH^vir «haU Jiaoriftce to the gods." PuOBUS— ** The 
odiota of tho most element emix^rors ordain that all sacrifice to 
tho j^H^5^» or uullor accw^ling to law." Irex^us— " But the 
|{^w of my InM ix)mmaiids me rather to sufler all torments than 
to »a<^itici* to the god*," Probus— •* Either sacrifice, or I will 
pwi N-vm to the tiviure." Ieknjbus— ** You cannot do me a 
^r\Hil«jr |doaJ»uro ; for by that means you wiU make me partake 
of iho »uiK>Tin|S« of my Siivionr.'* The proconsul commandtHi 
lam 10 U' pul on the rack ; and whilst he was tortured, he said 
to him i ** \Vhat do you say now, Ir«ne&us? Vill you sacrifice ?" 
|UKN\«C»— * I sacrifict^ to my God by eonfeesdng bis holy name, 
and «> hav« I always sacrificed to bim.^ All Irenseus s haxaij 

* K^kl«^« or Elh«lw«ld, Unifies ih#^ jMfeni; 


»!() ST. IBEXiBUS, M. [Mabch 24 

Univ i yet, by Ood's grace, every one of them persevered to the 
finl of the iM*ntecutiou firm in the faith. — See St. Victor, De 
lVrN(*e. Vandal. 1. 6. n. 4, 


11 K wan, for his eminent sanctity, honoured with the priest- i 

hood whiUt ho lived in the monastery of Rippon. Afierwardb \ 

iw \vA an cremitioal life in the isle of Fame, where he died 
in GUI), about eleven years after St. Cuthbert. His body was 
translatod to Lindisfarne, afterwards to Durham. — See Bede in 
vita S. Cuthberti, n. 68. 

March 24.] st. iBENiEus, m. 241 

was in the utmost concern for him. His mother, his wife, and 
hfs children surrounded him. His children embraced his feet, 
crying out : " Father, dear father, have pity on yourself and on 
us." His wife, dissolved in tears, cast herself about his neck, 
and, tenderly embracing him, conjured him to preserve himself 
for her, and his innocent children, the pledges of their mutual 
iovp His mother, with a voice broken with sobs, sent forth 
lamentable cries and sighs, which were accompanied with those 
of their servants, neighbours, and friends ; so that all round the 
rack on which the martyr was hanging, nothing was heard but 
f?obs, groans, and lamentations. Irenaeus resisted all these vio- 
lent assaults, opposing those words of our Lord : If any one 
renounce me before men, J will renounce him be/ore my Father 
who is in Heaven, He made no answer to their pressing 
Bolicitations, but raised his soul above all considerations of 
flesh and blood to him who was looking down on his conflict 
from above, waiting to crown his victory with immortal glory; 
and who seemed to cry out to him from his lofty throne in 
heaven : " Come, make haste to enjoy me." The governor 
said to him : " Will you be insensible to such marks of tender- 
ness and aflection P Can you see so many tears shed for you 
without being moved P It is not beneath a great courage to 
be touched with compassion. Sacrifice, and do not destroy 
yourself in the flower of your age." Irenseus said: "It is 
that I may not destroy myself that I refuse to sacrifice. ' 
The governor sent him to prison where he remained a long time 
c^ufiering divers torments. At the second time of examination, 
the governor, after having pressed him to sacrifice, asked him 
if he had a wife, parents, or children alive P The saint answered 
all these questions in the negative. " Who then were those that 
;vept for you at your first examination P" Irenaeus made answei : 

' Our Lord Jems Christ hath said: ffe that loveth father or 
mother, wife or children, brothers or relations, mare than me, 
is not worthy of me. So, when I lift up my eyes to contemplate 
that God whom I adore, and the joys he hath prormised to those 
who faithfully serve him, I forget that I am a father, a husband 
a son, a master, a friend." Probus said : " But you do not 
tbereforc cease to be so. Sacrifice, at least, for their sakes." 

Ireneus replied : ** My children will not lose much by my 
death ; for I leave them for father that saiae God whom they 
adoni with me ; so let nothing hinder you from executing the 

242 8T. IRKKJC0S, M. [MARCH 24. 

orders of your emperor upon me." Probus. ** Throw not your- 
self away. I cannot avoid condemning you." Iben^us. '^Tou 
cannot do me a greater fayonr, or give me a more agreeable 
pleasure." Then Probus passed sentence after this manner: 
" I order that Irenaens, for disobeying the emperor's commands, 
be cast into the river."* Irenaeus replied : *' After so many 
threats, I expected something extraordinary, and you content 
yourself with drowning me. How comes this P Tou do me an 
injury ; for you deprive me of the means of showing the world 
how much Christians, who have a lively futh, despise death, 
though attended with the most cruel torments." Probus, en- 
raged at this, added to the sentence that he should be first 
beheaded. Irenaeus returned thanks to God as for a second 
victory. When arrived on the bridge of Diana, from which he 
was to be thrown, stripping off his clothes, and lifting up his 
hands to heaven, he prayed thus ; '^ Lord Jesus Christ, who 
condescendest to suffer for the salvation of the world, command 
the heavens to open, that the angels may receive the soul of thy 
servant Irenseus, who suffers for thy name, and for thy people 
of the Catholic church of Sirmium." Then his head been struck 
off, he was thrown into the river on the 25th of March, on 
which day his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. He 
suffered in the year 304. He was married before he was 
ordained bishop ; but lived continent from that time, as the laws 
of the church required. 

The martyrs most perfectly accomplished the precept of 
renouncing all things for Christ ; but all who desire truly to 
become his disciples, are bound to do it in spirit. Many 
aspire to perfection by austere practices of exterior mortifica- 
tion and long exercises of devotion ; yet make little progress, 
and, after many years, remain always subject td many im- 
perfections and errors in a spiritual life. The reason is, 
because they neglected to lay the foundation by renouncing 
themselves. This requires constant watchfulness, courageous 
self-denial, a perfect spirit of humility, meekness and obedience, 
and sincere compunction, in which a soul examines and detects 
her vices, bewails her past sins and those of the whole world, 
bighs at the consideration of its vanity and slavery, and of 

* Meaning the Boswethe, whieh nmB through Siimisoh, and falU into tho 
se five leagues lower. 

March 21.] st. simox, m. 243 

her distance from heayen, labours daily to cleanse her mind 
from all idle thoughts, and her heart from all sin, all irregular 
attachments, and superfluous desires, flies the vain joys of the 
world, and often entertains herself on the bloody passion of 
Christ. If the affections are thus purified, and this cleanness 
of heart daOy more and more cultivated, the rest costs very 
little, and the soul makes quick progress in the paths of holy 
love, by the assiduous exercises of contemplation and prayer, 
a constant fldelil^ in all her actions, and the most fervent and 
pure attention to the divine will and presence. Voluntary im- 
perfections and failings, especially if habitual, both blind and 
defile the soul, disquiet her, extremely weaken her, and damp 
the fervour of her good desires and resolutions. They must 
therefore be retrenched with the utmost resolution and vigilance, 
especially those which arise from any secret vanity, sensuality, 
or want of the most perfect sincerity, candour, and simplicity. 
An habitual attachment to any failing, how trifling soever it 
may appear, how subtle and secret soever it may be, and under 
whatever pretences it may be disguised, exceedingly obstructs 
the operations of the Holy Ghost, and the efi^sion of divine 
grace in a soul. 



In the year 1472, when the Jews of Trent (famous for the last 
general council held there) met in their synagogue on Tuesday, 
in Holy "Week, to deliberate on the preparations for the ap- 
proaching festival of the Passover, which fell that year on the 
Thursday following, they came to a resolution of sacrificing to 
their iaveterate hatred of the Christian name, some Christian 
infant on the Friday following, or Good Friday. A Jewish phy- 
sician undertook to procure such an infant for the horrid purpose. 
And while the Christians were at the ofl&ce of Tenebrae on Wed- 
nesday evening, he found a child called Simon, about two years 
old, whom by caresses and by showing him a piece of money, he 
decoyed from the door of a house, the master and mistress whereof 
were gone to church, and carried him off. On Thursday evening 
the principal Jews shut themselves up in a chamber adjoining to 
their synagogue, and at midnight began their cruel butchery of 
this innocent victim. Having stopped his mouth with an acron 


to prevent Li» crying out, they made several indsioDs in his body 
gathering bis blood in a basin. Some, all this while, held bis 
arms stretched ont in the form of a cross : others held his legs. 
The child being half dead, they raised him on his feet, and while 
two of them held him by the arms, the rest pierced his body on 
all sides with their awls and bodkins. When they saw the child 
had expired, they snng ronnd it: ''In the same manner did we 
treat Jesus the God of the Christians : thus may our enemies be 
confounded for ever." The magistrates and parents making 
strict search after the lost child, the Jews hid it first in a bam of 
hay, then in a cellar, and at last threw it into the >iyer. Bat 
God confounded all their endeavours to prevent the discovery of 
the fact, which being fully proved upon them, with its several 
circumstances, they were pat to death : the principal actors in 
the tragedy being broken upon the wheel and burnt. The syna- 
gogue was destroyed, and a chapel was erected on the spot where 
the child was martyred. God honoured this innocent victim with 
many miracles. The relics lie in a stately tomb in St. Peter's 
church at Trent : and the name occurs in the Roman Martyr- 
OiOgy. See the authentic account of Tiberinus, the physician, 
who inspected the child's body ; and the juridical acts in Surius 
and the BoUandists, with Henschenius's notes on this day : also 
Martenne, Ampl. CoUectio Vet. t. 2. p. 1616. and Bened. XIV. 
de Canoniz. 1. 1. c. 14. p. 105. 


This martyr was another victim of the implacable rage of the 
Jews against our holy religion. He suflfered in the twelfth ye»r 
of his age. Having been not long bound an apprentice to a 
tanner in Norwich, a litUe before Easter, in 1137, the Jews oi 
that city having enticed him into their houses, seized and 'gagged 
him : then they bound, mocked and crucified him, m derision of 
Christ : they aJso pierced his left side. On Easter-day they put 
the body into a sack, and carried it into Thorp-wcod, now a 
heath, near the gates of the dty, there to bury it ; bn* being dis* 
covered, left it hanging on a tree. The body was honoured with 
miracles, and, in 1144^ removed into the church- yard of tiie 
cathedral of the Holy Trinity, by the monks of that abbey; and 
in 1150, into the choir. On the place in Thorp-wood where the 
body of the martyred child was found, a chapel was bnilt callei 


8t. William in the wood. Mr. Weever writes that, '^the Jews 
tn the principal cities of the kingdom, used sometimes to steal 
away, drcnmcise, crown with thorns, whip, torture, and crucify 
some neighhour's male-child, in mockery and scorn of our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ. St. Richard of Pontoise, in France, 
was martyred hy them in that manner. As also St. Hugh, 
(according to Matthew Paris and John Capgrave,) a child cruci- 
fied at Lincoln, in 1255. Nevertheless it is a notorious slander 
of some authors, who, from these singular and extraordinary 
instances, infer this to have heen at any time the custom or 
maxim of that people. The English calendars commemorated 
St. William on the 24th of March. See the history of his mar- 
tyrdom aud miracles hy Thomas of Monmouth, a contemporary 
monk; also the Saxon Chronicle of the same age, and Bloom^- 
field's History of Norfolk.* 




This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings 
brought hy the angel Gahriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
concerning the incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates 
the most important emhassy that was ever known : an emhasay 
sent hy the King of kings, performed hy one of the chief princes 
of his heavenly court; directed, not to the kings or emperors 
of the earth, but to a poor, unknown, retired virgin, who, being 

• Pope Benedict XIV. 1. 1. de Canon, c. 14. p. 103. shows that children 
who die after haptism before the use of reason, though saints, onght not to be 
canonized, because they nerer practised any heroic degree of virtue ; and 
because this was never authorized by tradition in the church. Martyrs only, 
or infants, whether baptized or not, which were slain out of hatred to the 
name of Christ, are to be accepted, as is clear from the example of the Holy 
innocents, who are styled martyrs by St. Ireneos, Origen, and other fathers, 
and the most ancient missals and homilies of fathers on their festival, prove 
til em to have been honoured as such from the primitive ages. Hence infants 
murdered by Jews, out of hatred to Christ, have been ranked among the 
martyrs ; as St. Simon of Trent, by the authority of the bishop of that city, 
afterwards confirmed by the decrees of the Fop«« SUtus V. and Grccorr 
VOL. lU- '^ B 

246 Tins ANNUNaATioN. . [Mabch a&. 

endowed with the most angelic purity of soul and body, being 
withid perfectly humble and deyoted to God, was greater in 
his eyes than all the sceptres in the world could make an 
universal monarch. Indeed, God, by the choice which he is 
pleased to make of a poor virgin, for the accomplishment of 
the greatest of asU mysteries and graces, clearly demonstrates 
that earthly diadems, dignities, and treasures are of no conside- 
ration with him ; and that perfect humility and sanctity alone 
constitute true greatness. God, who is almighty, can do all things 
by himself, without making use of the concurrence of creatures. 
Nevertheless, he vouchsafes, in his exterior works, most fre- 
quently to use their co-operation. If he reveal his will and 
speak to men, it is by the intervention oi his prophets, and 
these he often enlightens by the ministry of angels. Many of 
the ancient patriarchs were honoured by him with the most 
sublime commissions. By Mose*s, he delivered his people from 
the Egyptian slavery ; by him he gave them his law, and he 
appointed him mediator in his alliance with them. When the 
Son of God became man, he could have taken upon him our 
nature without the co-operation of any creature ; but was 
pleased to be born of a woman. In the choice of her whom he 
raised to this most sublime of all dignities to which any pure 
creature could be exalted, he pitched upon her who, by the 
riches of his grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy 
and the most perfect. The design of this embassy of the arch- 
angel is as extraordinary as the persons concerned in it. It* 
is to give a Saviour to the world, a victim of propitiation to 
the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin, remaining 
still a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God, the nature 
of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to the 
satisfaeiion of God's justice for our transgressions. And the 

XIII. also St William of Norwich, in England, (though this child having 
attained to the ose of reason, is rather to be called an adult martyr) and St. 
Biohard of Pontoise, also abont tweWe years old, mnrdered in 1182, hj 
certain Jews in the reign of Philip Aagnstas, who for this and other crimes 
banished the Jews out of France, in April, that same year. The body of 
St. Bichard was translated to Paris, and enshrined in the parish church of 
the Holy Innocents, where his feast is kept on the 30th of March, but at 
Pontoise on the 26th. The celebrated F. Gaguin has written the history of 
hi.<) martyrdom, with an account of several miracles wrought at his shrine. 
His head is still shown in that church ; the rest of his relics are said to havo 
been carried off by the English, when they were masters of Pans. 


Son of God being to take a human body formed of her sub- 
stance, the Holy Ghost, who, by a power all-divine, was to 
her in p]ace of a spouse, was not content to render her body 
capable of giving life to a Man-God, but likewise enriched 
her soul with a fulness of grace, that there might be a sort of 
proportion between the cause and the effect, and she the better 
qualified to co-operate towards this mystery of sanctity. 

The angel begins his address to her with Hail! full of This is not the first time that angels appeared to 
women. But we find not that they were ever treated with 
that respect which the angel Gabriel shows to Mary. Sarah and 
Agar were visited by these celestial spirits, but not with an 
honour like that wherewith the angel on this occasion addresses 
the Blessed Virgin, saying. Hail! full of Grace, He considers 
her as the greatest object among creatures of God's favour, 
affection, and complacency. He admires in her those wonderful 
effects of the divine liberality, those magnificent gifts and graces, 
those exalted virtues, which have placed the very foundation of 
her spiritual edifice on the holy mountains, (2) in a degree of 
perfection surpassing that of all pure creatures. He admires 
that perfect gratitude with which she always received God's 
grace, and her perfect fidelity in corresponding with it, and 
advancing in sanctity, by the help thereof, with a solicitude 
answerable to her love and gratitude, for the preservation and 
increase of so inestimable a treasure. Full of gra^e. The 
first encomium which St. John gives us of the glory of the 
Word made flesh is, that he was full of grace and truth. {Z) 
God forbid that we should say that Mary was full of grace in 
the same manner as her Son ; for he is the very source and 
origin of it, from whose fulness all the saints, Mary not ex- 
cepted, have reeeived(4) whatever degree they possess of grace 
and sanctity. St. Luke assures us also, that St. Stephen was 
full of grace and the Holy Ghost,(5) but it was a fulness in 
regard to a less capacity, and in relation to a lower function. 
Moreover, to St. Stephen and other saints, who have received 
large portions of heavenly grace, we may say, in those other 
words of the angel. You have found favour with God: but 
those very favours, though very great in themselves, were not 

(1) Luke i. 28. 
(2) Ps. Ixxxvi. (3) John i. 14. 

<4) Ibid. 16. {b) Act« 1t« &. 


to be compared with that which from all eternity was reserved 
for Mary. God made the saints the object of his gratuitous 
election^ and he qualified them with his graces to be the mes- 
sengers of his Son, the preachers and witnesses of his gospel ; 
but Mary was his choice, and was fiimished with his graces 
to bear the most illustrious, the most exalted title of honour 
that heaven could bestow on a pure creature, to conceive of 
ber proper substance the divine Word made man. If, then, 
the grace of God so raise a person in worth and merits that 
there is not any prince on earth who deserves to be compared 
^ith a soul that is dignified with the lowest degree of sancti- 
fying grace; what shall we say or think of Mary, in whom the 
fulness of grace was only a preparation to her maternity ? 
^Vhat shall we think of ourselves (but in an opposite light) 
who wilfully expose this greatest of all treasures on so many 
occasions to be lost, whereas we ought wilfully to forego and 
renounce all the advantages and pleasures of this world, rather 
than hazard the loss of the least degree of it, and be most 
fervent in our supplications to God for the gaining, preserving, 
and increasing so great a treasure : forasmuch as it is a pledge 
of God's love, a participation of his Spirit, and a title to the 
possession of his heavenly kingdom. 

But who can be surprised at those inestimable treasures which 
God, on this occasion, with so liberal a hand, bestows on Mary, 
if he consider the purport of the following words of the angel 
to her : T^e Zord is with thee. He is with her in a manner 
more intimate, more perfect, and more divine, than he ever 
was or will be with any other creature. He is with her not 
only by his essence, by his presence, by his power; for he 
is thus with all his creatures: He is with her, not only by 
his actual grace touching her heart and enlightening her 
understanding; he i« thus many times with the sinner: He 
is with her, not only with his sanctifying grace, making her 
agreeable in his sight, and placing her in the number of his 
children; he is present in this manner with all the just; He 
is with her, not only by a special protection guiding her in 
his ways, and leading her securely to the term of salvation ; 
this he does for the elect : but he is also with her by a sub- 
stantial and corporeal presence, residing personally and really 
in her. In her, and of her substance, is this day formed 
his adorable body ; in her he reposes for nine months with hia 

March 25.] the annunciation. 249 

whole divinity and humanity. It is in this ineffahle manner that 
he is with Mary, and with none but Mary. glorious Virgin, 
thrice happy Mother, from this source and ocean of all grace 
what heavenly blessings in so long a space of time must have 
flowed upon you ! and what honours must be due to one s<r 
nearly allied to our great Creator I What intercession so pre- 
valent as that of the Mother of divine ^race / 

The angel concludes his address with these words ; Blessed 
art thou am(mg iooman.(l) Blessed, as being chosen pre- 
ferably to all of her sex. to be the glorious instrument, in the 
hand of God, for removing the maledictions laid on mankind 
in punishment of their sins, and in communicating to them the 
source of all good. And on that account it was, that a/l 
succeeding generations, as she foretold of herself, should call 
her Blessed ; {2) regarding ber as the centre in which all the 
blessings of the Old and New Testament are drawn together. 

Though we are obliged to consider the eminent quality of 
Mother of God as the source of all other graces bestowed on the 
Blessed Virgin, it must yet be owned it is not the greatest, and 
that she was happier in loving Jesus Christ, than in having con- 
ceived him and brought him forth. She is blessed among women 
and above the rest of creatures, not precisely on account of her 
maternity, but because she received a fulness of grace propor- 
tioned to the dignity to which she was chosen. So that, 
according to the remark of the holy fathers, she was happier 
for her sanctity then for \^i dignity : for her virtues, than 
for her privileges. Among her virtues, that of purity seems 
particularly deserving of notice on this solemnity, as the epistle 
for this festival records that memorable prophecy of Isaias, 
Thai a virgin should conceive, and bring forth a son ;(3) the 
most remarkable of all the signs God had promised the world 
for making known the accomplishment of the mystery of man's 
redemption. And, indeed, right reason seemed to require, that 
«he who was to be the mother of God, should be of an integrity 
above reproach, and incapable of yielding to any solicitation - 
it was highly fit her virginity should be perfectly pure, anrt 
removed as far as possible from the least suspicion of blemish. 
For this reason, the moment God had chosen her to be his 
mother, be exacted from her the most authentic proofs of an 

a) Loke L 28. {2} Ibid. 48. (3) Isau ii 14« 


inyiolable attachment to purity. Thus, it is not in a crowd, 
or in idle conversation^ but in a retreat, that the angel finds 
her. It is not from the distraction or diversions and entertain- 
ments that he calls her aside to deliver his message : no ; she 
is alone in her house, with the door shut ; ''and," as Saint 
Ambrose sajs, ''he must be an angel that gets entrance 
there."* Hence, according to the same holy father, it was not 
the angel's appearance that gave her trouble, for he will not 
have it to be doubted but heavenly visions and a commerce 
with the blessed spirits had been familiar to her. But what 
alarmed her, he says, was the angel's appearing in human 
form, in the shape of a young man. What might add to her 
fright on the occasion, was his addressing her in the strain 
of praise, which kind of words flattery often puts in the mouths 
of ill-designing men. And how few, alas ! are able to with- 
stand such dangers P But Mary, guarded by her modesty^ 
is in confusion at expressions of this sort, and dreads the least 
appearance of deluding flattery. Such high commendations 
make her cautious how she answers, till in silence she has 
more- fully considered of the matter : She revolved in her mindy 
says St. Luke, what manner of salutation this should be.(l ) Ah I 
what numbers of innocent souls have been corrupted for want 
of using the like precautions ! Mary is retired, but how seldom 
now-a-days are young virgins content to stay at home I 
Mary is silent when commended, and answered not ^ word 
till she had well considered what she ought to say: but now 
it is to be feared that young women never think so little as 
when they are entertained with flattery. Every soothing word 
is but too apt to slide from the ear to the heart ; and who can 
tell what multitudes by their unwary methods, sufler ship- 
wreck of their modesty, and then of their purity. For how 
can this be long-lived after having lost all its guardians P No, 
it cannot be. Unless a virgin be assiduous in prayer and 
spiritual reading, modest in her dress, prudent and wary in 
her choice of company, and extremely careful in the govern- 
ment of her eyes and tongae when she happens to be in 
conversation with the other sex, there is but too much reason 

(1) Lttke i. 2d. 
* O hospitinm solis ang«lis pervioip \ S. Amb. in loo. 

March 25.] the annunciation. 251 

to apprehend that either her heart is already betrayed, or in 
danger of being vanquished by the next assault of her spiritual 
enemy. A dread of, and a speedy flight from, all dangerous 
occasions is the only security of virtue and innocence. Pre- 
sumption wants no other tempter. Even Mary, though confirmed 
in grace, was only secure by this fear and distrust iu herself. 

A second cause why Mary was disturbed at the words of the 
angel was, because they contained her praises. Humble souls 
always tremble and sink with confusion in their own minds when 
they hear themselves commended ; because they are deeply pene- 
trated with a sense of their own weakness and insufficiency, 
and they consider contempt as their due. They know that the 
glory of all gifts belongs solely to God, and they justly fear lest 
the poison of praise should insinuate itself into their minds; 
being sensible how infinitely dangerous honours and flattery 
are to humility. Are these our sentiments? Do we never 
speak of ourselves to our own advantage ? Do we never 
artfully praise ourselves, or willingly lend an ear to what 
flatterers say to applaud us P Are we troubled when we hear 
ourselves praised P What gives trouble but to too many is, 
that men give them not what they take to be their right ; and 
that their praises equal not the notion they have framed of their 
merits. The high eulogiums bestowed on Mary by the angel 
she answers no otherwise than by a profound silence, by a saintly 
trouble of mind, which, with a modest blush, appears in her 
countenance. The angel, to calm her disquiets, says to her: 
fear not Martfy for thou hast found favour before God, He then 
informs her, that she is to conceive and bring forth a son whose 
name shall be called Jesus, who shall be great, and the son of the 
Most High, and possessed of the throne of David, her illus- 
trious ancestor. Mary, who, according to St. Austin,* had 
consecrated her virginity to God by vow, is not at all weakened 
by the prospect of such a dignity, in her resolution of living a 
virgin : but, on the contrary, out of a just concern to know 
how she may comply with the will of God without prejudice to 
her vow, neither moved by curiosity, nor doubting of the miracle 
or its possibility, she inquires, How shall this be ? Nor does 
she give her consent till the heavenly messenger acquaints her 

* Quod profecto non diceret nif i se yiiginem ante voTisMt. L. de Virg. o. 
4. t. 6. p. 34a. 


that it is to be a work of the Ho]y Ghost, who^ in making her 
fruitful, will not intrench in the least upon her virginal purity, 
but cause her to be a mother^ sjill remaining, as she desires^ a 
pure virgin. 

Moreover, had not Mary been deep rooted in huD»ility, what 
impression must not these great promises have made in her 
heart, at a time .especially when the first transports are so apt 
to overflow the soul on the sudden news of an unexpected glory* 
The world knows, from too frequent experience, how strongly the 
promise and expectation of new dignities raise the spirits, and 
alter the words, the looks, and the whole carriage of proud men. 
But Mary is still the same, or rather much more lowly and meek 
in spirit upon the accession of this unparalleled dignity. She 
sees no cause to pride herself in her virtues, graces, and privi- 
leges^ knowing that the glory of all these are due only to the 
divine Author and Bestower of them. In submission, therefore,, 
to God's will, without any further inquiries, she expresses her 
assent in these humble but powerful words : Behold the hand- 
maid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word. What 
faith and confidence do her answer express! What profound 
crility and perfect obedience ! She was saluted mother of 
God, yet uses no word of dignity, but styles herself nothing 
more than his handmaid, to be commanded and employed by 
him as he shall think fittest. The world, as heaven had de- 
creed, was not to have a Saviour till she had given her consent 
to the angel's proposal ; she gives it, and behold the power and 
efficacy of her submissive Fiat! That moment, the mystery of 
love and mercy promised to mankind four thousand years before,, 
foretold by so many prophets, desired by so many saints, i» 
wrought on earth. That moment, the Word of God is for ever 
united to humanity; the soul of Jesus Christ, produced from 
nothing, begins to enjoy God, and to know all things past, pre- 
sent, and to come : that moment, God begins to have an adorer, 
who is infinite, and the world a mediator, who is omnipotent % 
and, to the working of this great mystery, Mary alone is chosen 
to co-operate by her free assent. The prophets represent the 
earth as moved out of its. place, and the mountains as melting 
away before the very countenance of God looking down upon the 
world. Now that he descends in person, who would not expect 
that the whole heavens should be moved ? But another kind of 
appearance best suited bis coming on this occasion, which \vas 

March 26.] ^ the annunciation. 253 

with the view of curing our pride by his wonderful humiliations, 
and thereby repair the injury the Godhead had suffered from our 
unjust usurpation ; and not to show forth his grandeur, and dis- 
play his all-glorious majesty. How far are the ways of God 
above those of men ! how greatly does divine wisdom differ from 
human foUy ! how does every circumstance in this mystery 
confound the pride, the pomp, and the vain titles of worldly 
grandeur, and recommend to us the love of silence and sincere 
humDity ! Shall the disciples of Christ have other sentiments. 

But what tongue can express the inward feelings and affections 
which then filled the glowing heart of the most pure Mother of 
God P What light shone in her understanding to penetrate the 
mysteries and the excess of the unfathomed goodness of God ! 
what ardours of holy love inflamed her will ! what Jubilee filled 
her soul ! Let men redeemed exult and praise, returning to God 
their best homages of adoration, thanksgiving, and love. It is 
for this duty that the Church has appointed this present festival, 
which we ought chiefly to consecrate to the contemplation of this 
adorable mystery with hymns of love, praise, and thanksgiving. 
It was the hope and comfort of all the ancient saints, and the 
great object of all their earnest prayers, tears, and sighs. The 
prophets had a view to it in all their predictions, this being the 
principal point in all the wonderful revelations of God made to 
his Church since the fall of Adam in Paradise, whom he imme- 
diately comforted with a promise and glimpse of this glorious 
mercy. Every ordinance in the law which he gave the Jews 
was typical, and had either an immediate, or at least an indirect 
relation to Christ, and our redemption by him. Among the 
numberless religious rites and sacrifices which were prescribed 
them, there was not one which did not in some manner represent 
or allude to this mystery. How high an idea ought this circum- 
stance to give us of its incomprehensible greatness^ which its 
nature and wonderful effects and fruits must enhance beyond the 
power of words ! We are lost in astonishment, when we con- 
template this prodigy of omnipotence, and infinite wisdom and 
mercy, and adore it in raptures and silence. 

Gerson cries out on this mystery : *' What ought every heart 
to say or think ! every religious, every loving and faithful heart? 
It ought to rejoice exceedingly in this singular comfort, and to 
8alate you with Gabriel : blessed among women. On this day 
b accomplished the great desire of the holy ancient patriarchs 


and prophetn, who often languished to hasten it, in their sighs, 
prayers, and writings, crying out aloud to the desire of the eternal 
hills. On this day is the Saviour of mankind, true God and 
man^ conceived in the womb of Mary. This day our Lady re- 
ceived a name more sublime than can be understood, and the 
most noble of all names possible, after that of her Son, by which 
she is called the Mother of God. On this day the greatest of 
miracles is wrought. Hear the wonders of love and mercy on 
this festival : God is made man ; and man, in the divine person, 
God : he that is immortal is become mortal, and the Eternal is 
born in time. A virgin is a mother, a woman the mother of God ; 
a creature has conceived her Creator !" Saint Peter Chrysologus 
expresses the fruits of this mystery as follows : " One virgin so 
receives and contains God in the lodging of her breast, as to 
procure peace for the earth, glory for heaven, salvation for the 
lost, life for the dead, an alliance of those on earth with the 
blessed in heaven, and the commerce of God with the ilesh."(l) 

From the example of the Virgin Mary in this mystery, how 
ardent a love ought we to conceive of purity and humility ! 
According to St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Jerom,(2) she 
would rather be the spouse of God in spirit, by spotless virginity, 
than his mother in the flesh ; and so acceptable was this her 
disposition to God, that she deserved immediately to hear, that 
she should bring forth the Son of the Most High, istill re- 
maining a most pure virgin: nor would God have otherwise 
raised her to this astonishing honour. The holy Ghost is 
invited by purity to dwell in souls, but is chased away by the 
filth of the contrary vice. The dreadful havoc which it now-a- 
days makes among Christian souls, calls for torrents of tears, 
and is the source of the infidelity and universal desolation 
which are spread on every side. Humility is the foundation of a 
spiritual life. By it Mary was prepared for the extraordinary 
graces, and all virtues with which she was enriched, and for 
the eminent dignity of Mother of God. 

St. Austin says, that according to an ancient tradition, this 
mystery was completed on the 25th of March. (3) Both eastern 
and western churches celebrate it on this day, and have done 
so at least ever since the fifth century. This festival is men- 
tioned by Pope Gelasius I. in 492. The council of Constantinople, 

(1) Senn. 146. (2) St. Greg. Nyss. Tr. de Nativ. 

(3j L. 4. de Trin. c. 6. 

March 2fif.j srr. cammin, a. 2^5 

in 692, orders the myssa praesanctificatorum, as on Good-Friday, 
to be said on all days in Lent, except Saturdays, Sundays, and 
the feast of the Annunciation.(l) The tenth council of Toledo, 
in 656, calls this solemnity The festival of the Mother of God,* 
by way of excellence. To praise the divine goodness for this 
incomprehensible mystery of the incarnation. Urban II., in the 
council of Clermont, in 1095, ordered the bell to be rung every 
day for the triple Angelical Salutation, called Angelus Domini, 
at morning, noon and night. Which practice of devotion several 
popes have recommended by indulgences, as John XXII., 
Calixtus III., Paul III., Alexander VII., and Clement X. The 
late Benedict XIII. has augmented them to those who at the 
aforesaid hours shall devoutly recite this prayer kneeling. 


Among the most celebrated saints of Ireland, published by 
Usher, is placed St. Cammin, who in his youth retired from 
the noise of the world into the island of Inish-Kealtair, in the 
lake of Derg-Derch, or Dergid, in the confines of Thomond and 
Galway. Here several disciples resorting to him, he built a mo- 
nastery, which out of veneration for his extraordinary sanctity, 
was long very famous among the Irish. The church of that 
place still retains, from him, the name of Tempul-Cammin. 
His happy death is placed in the Inis-Fallen annals about the 
year 653. See Usher's Antiqu. p. 503. 

(1) See Thomasin de» Fetes, p. 229. 

• Festam Sancts Virginia Genitricis dies, festivStas matris — nam qiiud 
festam est matris nisi incamatio Verbi P Cone. Tolet. X. 

266 8T. IiUPGEB, B [MaBCH 26. 



From his life, written bj Altfrid,oneof his saccessors, and another compiled 
by a monk of Werden, about sixty years after the death of St. Ludger, of 
inferior authority to me former, both extant in Mabillon, Act. Bened. t. 
4. p. 289 : also a third life in Sarius and the BoUanditfts, written by the 
monks of Werden, perhaps twenty years after the latter. See HisL Liter. 
Fr. t 6. p. 660. 

A.D. 809. 

St. Ludgeb was born in Friseland, about the year 743. His 
father, who was a nobleman of the first rank in that country, 
at the child's own request, committed him very young to the 
care of St. Gregory, the disciple of St. Boniface, and his suc- 
cessor in the government of the see of Utrecht. Ludger had 
the happiness to have seen that holy martyr, and received horn 
him strong impressions of virtue. Gregory educated him in his 
monastery, and admiring his progress in learning and piety, 
gave him the clerical tonsure. Ludger, desirous of further im- 
provement, passed over into England, and spent four years and 
A half under Alcuin, who was rector of a famous school at York. 
He was careful to employ his whole time in the exercises of 
piety, and the study of the holy scriptures and fathers. In 773, 
he returned home, and St. Gregory dying in 776, his successor, 
Alberic, compelled our saint to receive the holy order of priest- 
hood, and employed him for several years in preaching the word 
of God in Friseland, where he converted great numbers, both 
among the Pagans and vicious Christians, founded several mo- 
nasteries, and built many churches. This was the state of 
affairs, when the pagan Saxons, ravaging the country obliged 
him to leave Friseland. Whereupon he travelled to Rome to 
consult Pope Adrian IL what course to take, and what he 
thought God required of him. He then retired for three years 
and a half to Mount Cassino, where he wore the habit of the 
Order, and conformed to the practice of the rule during his stay 
but made no religious vows. In 787, Charlemagne overcame the 
Saxons and conquered Friseland, and the coast of the Germanic 
ocean as far as Denmark. Ludger hearing that by this revo- 
lution the mission was again opened, returned into east-Frise- 
iftnd, where he converted the Saxons to the faith; as he also did 

March 26.] st. ludger, b. 257 

the province of Sudergou, now called Westphalia. He founded 
the monastery of "Werden,* in the county of La Mark, twenty- 
nine miles from Cologne. His old master Alcuin being come 
into France, made his merit known to the Emperor Charlemagne. 
In 802, Hildebald, archbishop of Cologne, not regarding his 
strenuous resistance, ordained him bishop of Mimigardeford, 
(or ford of the river Mimigard,) a city which afterwards changed 
this name for that of Munster, from the great monastery of 
regular canons which St. Ludger built there, to serve for his 
cathedral. He joined to his diocess five cantons of Friseland 
which he had converted, and also founded the monastery of 
Helmstad, afterwards called Ludger-Clooster, or Ludger's cloister, 
in the duchy of Brunswick. 

He was very learned in the Holy Scriptures, and read daily 
lectures thereon to bis disciples. He fasted and watched 
much, and always wore a hair shirt, but secretly, so that no 
one knew of it till a little before his death. He ate some 
flesh at certain times, chiefly to conform to others, but always 
observing a strict temperance. When invited to any enter- 
tainment, his discourse the whole time was on religious sub- 
jects, and he withdrew immediately after. To the poor he 
was affable and courteous, but firm and resolute to the proud 
rich. He exerted an episcopal vigour against impenitent 
sinners, and refused all manner of presents from an incestuous 
lady, and at length excommunicated her. Except what was 
absolutely necessary for his subsistence, he employed the re- 
venues of his own estate and those of his bishopric in charities. 
He was accused to the emperor Charlemagne, among other 
things, of wasting his income, and neglecting the embellish- 
ment of churches within his jurisdiction. And this prince, 
who loved to see churches magnificent, giving ear to the in- 
formation, ordered him to appear at court. The morning 
after his arr.val, the emperor's chamberlain brought him word 
that his attendance was required. The saint, being then at 
bis prayers, told the ofl&cer that be would follow him as soon 
as he had finished them. He was sent for three several times 
before he was ready, which the courtiers represented as a 
contempt of his majesty ; and the emperor with some emotion^ 
asked him why he had made him wait so long, though he had 

* Some haye, by mistake, confounded this place with F<;ruen, or Werden, 
beyond the Weser. 

258 ST. LT7DGEB, B. [MaBCH 26. 

aeut for him so often P The hishop answered, that though he 
had the most profound respect for his majesty, yet God was in- 
finitely ahove him ; that whilst we are occupied with him, it is our 
duty to forget every thing else ; and that in this he judged he 
had rather obeyed than neglected his majesty's orders, who, 
when he was chosen bishop, had recommended to him ever to 
prefer the service of God to that of men. This answer made 
such an impression on the emperor, in favour of the saint, 
that he looked upon it as a complete justification of his con- 
duct as to every particular that had been laid to his charge : 
he accordingly dismissed him with honour, and disgraced bis 
accusers. The saint took this liberty with a religious prince, 
that he might condemn the sloth of many who suffer distrac- 
tions or earthly trifles to interrupt their commerce with God ; 
but they who leave prayer for necessary works of charity or 
obedience, find God still in the exercises of those virtues. 
St. Ludger required so devout an attention at divine service, 
that being at prayers one night with his clergy, and one of 
them stooping down to mend the fire and hinder it from 
smoking, the saint after prayer severely rebuked him for it, 
and inflicted on him a penance for some days. St. Ludger 
was favoured with the gift of miracles and prophecy. He 
foretold the invasion of the Normans from Denmark and Norway, 
and what ravages they would make in the French empire, 
and this at a time when there was not the least apprehension 
of any such thing. His great zeal inclined him to go and 
preach the faith to these northern nations, but the king would 
not allow of it. His last sickness, though violent, did not 
hinder him from continuing his functions to the very last day of 
his life, which was Passion-Sunday, on which day he preached 
very early in the morning, said mass towards nine, and preached 
again before night, foretelling withal to those that were about 
him, that he should die the following night, and fixing upon 
a place in his monastery of Werden where he chose to be 
interred. He died accordingly on the 26th of March, at mid- 
night. His relics are still kept at Werden. Joseph, an Eng- 
glishman, a disciple of Alcuin, whom he attended into France, 
wrote, in sixteen verses, an eulogium of St. Ludger, published 
by Vossiu8(l) and Mabillon, as a specimen of good poetry for 
that age. 

Vo8«. de histnr. lat. 1. 2. c. 3. 

March 26.] ar. ludger, b. 259 

Nothing so much scandalizes the very infidels, or shows the 
decay of piety, and loss of all sense of religion among Christians, 
as their disrespectful behaviour in the house of God and at the 
time of prayer. An awful strict silence, the most profound exterior 
respect, and penetrating inward devotion of heart, must essentially 
accompany our homages when we present them before the throne 
of God, in whose presence the highest seraphim annihilate 
themselves. This silence we must observe not ouly with our 
tongues, but also with our bodies and all our limbs, both out of 
respect to the presence of God and his altar, and also not to give 
the least occasion of distraction to others. Prayer is an actiop 
so sublime and supernatural, that the Church in her canonical 
hours teaches us to begin it by a fervent petition of grace to per- 
form it well. What an insolence and mockery is it to join with 
this petition an open disrespect and a neglect of all necessary 
precautions against distractions ! We ought never to appeal 
before God^ to tender him our homages or supplications, without 
trembling, and without being deaf to all creatures, and shutting 
all our senses to every object that can distract our minds from 
God. In the life of F. Simon Gourdan, a regular cannon of St 
Victor's at Paris, who died in the odour of sanctity, in the year 
1729, the eighty-fifth of his age, it is related that King Lewis 
XIV. came to see him, and to recommend himself to his prayers, 
The servant of God made him wait till he had finished his thanks, 
giving after mass, which edified that great prince, who said, " he 
does well ; for he is employed in attending on a much greater 
king." Though St. Francis of Sales on the like occasions chose 
rather to forego or defer his own private devotions, than not to 
be ready immediately to wait on others, in order to give them all 
the spiritual advice they desired ; yet, at prayer, at least, he and 
all truly religious persons seemed in some degree to rival the 
heavenly spirits in their awe and reverence. Silence at that 
holy time, or place, has always been esteemed a thing so sacred, 
that when the temple of Solomon was building, God commanded 
that there should not be heard so much as the sound of a ham- 
mer, or any other instrument. Even when we come from con- 
versing with God, we ought to appear all penetrated with the 
divine presence, and rather as angels than men. Sanctity, 
modesty, and the marks of an heavenly spirit, ought to shine in 
our exterior, and to inspire others by our very sight with religious 
awe and devotion. 

2(K) ST. JOHN OF egtpt; h. [Mabch 2f . 



He was the great assistant of St. Isidore of Seville, in settling 
the discipline of the Church of Spain, and is one of those holy- 
pastors to whose zeal, learning, and labours it has always pro- 
fessed itself much indebted. He died in 646, in the twentieth 
year of his episcopacy. He has left us two letters to St. Isidore, 
an eulogium of that saint, and a catalogue of his works : also a 
hymn in Iambic verse in honour of St. Emilian, and the life of 
that servant of God, who after living long a hermit, was called 
to serve a parish in the diocess of Tarragon, where a famous, 
monastery now bears his name. 



From Bnfintis, in the second book of the liyes of the fathers ; and from Pal- 
ladius in his Lausiaca : this last had often seen him. Also St. Jerom, St. 
Austin, Cassian, &c. See Tillemont, t. 10. p. 9. See also the Wonders 
of God in the Wilderness, p. 160. 

A.D. 394. 

St. John was bom about the year 305, was of a mean extraction, 
and brought \x^ to the trade of a carpenter. At twenty-five years 
of age he forsook the world, and put himself under the guidance 
and direction of an ancient holy anchoret, with such an extraor- 
dinary humility and simplicity as struck the venerable old man 
with admiration ; who inured him to obedience by making him 
water a dry stick for a whole year, as if it were a live plant, and 
perform several other things as seemingly ridiculous, all which 
he executed with the utmost fidelity. To the saint's humility 
and ready obedience, Cassian(l) attributes the extraordinary 
gifts he afterwards received from God. He seems to have lived 
about twelve years with this old man, till his death, and abouc 
four more in different neighbouring monasteries. 

Being about forty years of age, he retired alone to the top of a 

(1) Coll. b. 4. c. 81. p. 81. 

March 2r.j sr. john of egtpt, h. 261 

rock of very difficult ascent, near Lycopolis.* His cell he walled 
ap, leaving only a little window through which he received all 
necessaries^ and spoke to those who visited him what might be 
for their spiritual comfort and edification. Daring five days iii 
the week he conversed only with God : but on Saturdays and 
Sundays all but women had free access to him for his instructions 
and spiritual advice. He never eat till after sunset, and then 
very sparingly ; but never any thing that had been dressed by 
fire, not so much as bread. In this manner did he live from the 
fortieth or forty-second to the ninetieth year of his age. For the 
reception of such as came to him from remote parts, he permitted 
a kind of hospital to be built near his cell or grotto, where some 
of his disciples took care of them. He was illustrious for miracles, 
and a wonderful spirit of prophecy, with the power of discovering 
to those that came to see him, their most secret thoughts and 
hidden sins. And such was the fame of his predictions, and the 
lustre of his miracles which he wrought on the sick, by sending 
them some oil which he had blessed, that they drew the admira- 
tion of the whole world upon him. 

Theodosius the Elder was then emperor, and was attacked by 
the tyrant Maximus, become formidable by the success of his 
arms, having slain the Emperor Gratian in 383, and dethroned 
Valentinian in 387. The pious emperor, finding his army much 
inferior to that of his adversary, caused this servant of God to be 
consulted concerning the success of the war against Maximus. 
Our saint foretold him, that he should be victorious almost with- 
out blood. The emperor, full of confidence in the prediction, 
marched into the "West, defeated the more numei-ous armies of 
Maximus twice in Pannonia ; crossed the Alps, took the tyrant 
in Aquileia, and suffered his soldiers to cut off his head. He 
returned triumphant to Constantinople, and attributed his victo- 
ries very much to the prayers of St. John, who also foretold him 
the events of his other wars, the incursions of Barbarians, and 
all that was to befall his empire. Four years after, in 392, 
Eugenius, by the assistance of Arbogastes, who hsul murdered 
the Emperor Valentinian the Younger, usurped the empire of the 
West. Theodosius sent Eutropius the Eunuch into Egypt, with 
instructions to bring St. John with him to Constantinople, if it 
were possible ; but that if he could not prevail with him to under- 

* A city in the north of Thebais, in Egypt. 
VOL. Ill S 


t&ke the journey, tc consult whether it was God's will that he 
shonld march against Eugenius, or wait his arrival in the East. 
The man of God excused himself as to his journey to court, but 
assured Eutropius that his prince should be victorious, but not 
without loss and blood: as also that he would die in Italy, and 
leave the empire of the "West to his son ; all which happened 
accordingly. Theodosius marched against Eugenius, and in the 
first engagement lost ten thousand men, and was almost defeated : 
but renewing the battle on the next day, the 6th of September, 
m 394, he gained an entire victory by the miraculous interposition 
of heaven, as even Claudian, the heathen poet, acknowledges. 
Theodosius died in the West, on the 17th of January, in 395, 
leaving his two sons emperors, Arcadius in the East, and Hono- 
rius in the West. 

This saint restored sight to a senator's wife by some of the 
oil he had blessed for healing the sick. It being his inviolable 
custom never to admit any woman to speak to him, this gave 
occasion to a remarkable incident related by Evagrius, Palla- 
dius, and St. Austin, in his treatise of Care for the Dead. A 
certain general oflScer in the emperor's service, visiting the 
saint, conjured him to permit bis wife to speak to him ; for she 
was come to Lycopolis, and had gone through many dangers 
jind difficulties to enjoy that happiness. The holy man an- 
swered, that during his stricter enclosure for the last forty 
years since he had shut himself up in that rock, he had im- 
posed on himself an inviolable rule not to see or converse with 
women ; so he desired to be excused the granting her request. 
The officer returned to Lycopolis very melancholy. His wife, 
who was a person of great virtue, was not to be satisfied. 
The husband went back to the blessed man, told him she would 
die of grief if be refused her request. The saint said to him : 
^ Go to your wife, and tell her that she shall see me to-night, 
without coming hither, or stirring out of her house." This 
answer he carried to her, and both were very earnest to know 
in what manner the saint would perform his promise. When 
she was asleep in the night the man of God appeared to her 
la her dream, and said : ** Your great faith, woman, obliged me 
to come to visit you; but I must admonish you to curb the like 
desires of seeing God's servants on earth. Contemplate only 
their life, and imitate their actions. As for me, why did you 
desire to see me P Am I a saint, or a prophet like God's iru<i 

MaUCH 27.] ST. JOHN OF EGYPT, H. ^63 

servants P I am a sinful and weak man. It is therefore, only 
in virtue of your faith that I have had recourse to our Lord, 
who grants you the cure of the corporal diseases with which 
you are afflicted. Live always in the fear of God, and never 
forget his benefits." He added several proper instructions for 
her conduct, and disappeared. The woman awaking, described 
to her husband the person she had seen in her dream, with 
all his features, in such a manner as to leave no room to 
doubt but it was the blessed man tha^ had appeared to her. 
Whereupon he returned the next day to give him thanks for 
the satisfaction he had vouchsafed his wife. But the saint on 
his arrival prevented him, saying : *' I have fulfilled your desire, 
I have seen your wife, and satisfied her in all things she had 
asked : go in peace." The officer received his benediction, and 
continued his journey to Seyne. What the man of God foretold 
happened to him, as, among other things, that he should receive 
particular honours from the emperor. Besides, the authors of 
the saint's life, St. Austin relates this history which he received 
from, a nobleman of great integrity and credit, who had it 
from the very persons to whom it happened. St. Austin adds, 
had he seen St. John, he would have inquired of him, whether 
he himself really appeared to this woman, or whether it was an 
angel in his shape, or whether the vision only passed in her 
imagination. (1) 

In the year 394, a little before the saint's death, he was visited 
by Palladius, afterwards bishop of Helenopolis, who is one of 
the authors of his life. Several anchorets of the deserts of 
Nitria, all strangers, the principal of whom were Evagrius, 
Albinus, Ammonius, had a great desire to see the saint. Pal- 
ladius, one of this number, being young, set out first in July, 
when the flood of the Nile was high. Being arrived at his 
mountain, he found the door of his porch shut, and that it 
would not be open till the Saturday following. He waited that 
time in the lodgings of strangers. On Saturday, at eight o'clock, 
Palladius entered the porch, and saw the saint sitting before 
his window, and giving advice to those who applied to him for 
it. Having saluted Palladius by an interpreter, he asked him 
of what country he was, and what was his business, and if he 
was not of the company or: monastery of Evagrius? Palladius 

(1) S. Aag. I. pro cur& de mortuis, c. 1 7> p> 294. 

264 ST. JOHN OF EGYPT, H. [MaRCH 27. 

owned he was. In the mean time arrived Al3'piu8, governor of 
the province, in great haste. The saint, on the arrival of Aly- 
pius, broke off his discourse with Palladius, who withdrew to 
make room for the governor to discourse with the saint. Theii 
conversation was very long, and Palladius being weary, mur- 
mured within himself against the venerable old man, as guilty 
of exception of persons. He was even just going away, when 
the saint, knowing his secret thoughts, sent Theodorus, his inter- 
preter, to him, saying : " Go, bid that brother not to be im- 
patient : I am going to dismiss the governor, and then will speak 
to him." Palladius, astonished that his thoughts should be 
known to him, waited with patience. As soon as Alypius was 
gone, St. John called Palladius, and said to him : '* Why were 
you angry, imputing to me in your mind what I was no way 
guilty of? To you I can speak at any other time, and you 
have many fathers and brethren to comfort and direct you in 
the paths of salvation. But this governor being involved in 
the hurry of temporal affairs, and being come to receive some 
wholesome^ advice during the short time his affairs will allow 
him to breathe in, how could I give you the preference ?" He 
then told Palladius what passed in his heart, and his secret 
temptations to quit his solitude ; for which end the devil repre- 
sented to him his father's regret for his absence, and that he 
might induce his brother and sister to embrace a solitary life. 
The holy man bade him despise such suggestions ; for they had 
both already renounced the world, and his father would yet 
live seven years. He foretold him that he should meet with 
great persecutions and sufferings, and should be a bishop, but 
with many afflictions : all which came to pass, though at that 
time extremely improbable. 

The same year, St. Petronius, with six other monks, made a 
long journey to pay St. John a visit. He asked them if any 
amongst them were in holy orders ? They said : No. One 
however, the youngest in the company, was a deacon, though 
this was unknown to the rest. The saint, by divine instinct, 
knew this circumstance, and that the deacon had concealed his 
orders out of a false humility, not to seem superior to the 
others, but their inferior, as he was in age. Therefore, pointing 
to him, he said : *' This man is a deacon." The other denied 
it, upon the false persuasion that to lie with a view to one's own 
humiliation was no sin. St. John took him by the hand, and 


kissing it, said to him ; '^ My son, take care never to deny the 
grace you have received from God, lest humility betray you 
into a lie. We must never lie, under any pretence of good 
whatever, because no untruth can be from God." The deacon 
received this rebuke with great respect. After their prayer 
together, one of the company begged of the saint to be cured of 
a certain ague. He answered : " You desire to be freed from 
a sickness which is beneficial to you. As nitre cleanses the 
body, so distempers and other chastisements purify the soul." 
However, he blessed some oil and gave it to him : he vomited 
plentifully after it, and was from that moment perfectly cured. 
They returned to their lodgings, where by his orders they were 
treated with all proper civility, and cordial hospitality. When 
they went to him again, he received them with joyfulness in 
his countenance, which evidenced the interior spiritual joy of 
his soul ; he bade them sit down, and asked them whence they 
came? They said from Jerusalem. He then made them a 
long discourse, in which he first endeavoured to show his own 
baseness ; after which he explained the means by which pride 
and vanity are to be banished out of the heart, and all virtues 
to be acquired. He related to them the examples of many 
monks, who, by suffering their hearts to be secretly corrupted 
by vanity, at last fell also into scandalous irregularities ; as 
of one, who, after a most holy and austere life, by this means 
fell into fornication, and then by despair into all manner of dis- 
orders ; also of another, who, from vanity, fell into a desire 
of leaving his solitude ; but by a sermon he preached to others, 
in a monastery on his road, was mercifully converted and be- 
came an eminent penitent. The blessed John thus entertained 
Petronius and his company for three days till the hour of None. 
When they were leaving him, he gave them his blessing, and 
said : ** Go in peace, my children ; and know that the news 
of the victory which the religious prince Theodosius has gained 
over the tyrant Eugenius is this day come to Alexandria : but 
this excellent emperor will soon end his life by a natural death." 
Some days after their leaving him to return home, they were 
informed he had departed this life. Having been favoured by 
a foresight of his death, he would see nobody for the last three 
days. At end of this term he sweetly expired, being on his 
knees at prayer, towards the close of the year 394, or the be- 
ginning of 395. It might probably be on the 17th of Optober, 

266 ST. HUPKBT, B. C. [MAECH 27 

on which day tAe Copths, or Egyptian Christians, keep his 
festiva] : the Roman and other Latin Martyrologies mark it on 
the 27th of March. 

The solitude which the Holy Ghost recommends, and which 
the saints emhraced, resembled that of Jesus Christ, being 
founded on the same motive or principle, having the same ex- 
ercises and employments, and the same end. Christ was 
conducted by the Holy Ghost into the desert, and he there spent 
his time in prayer and fasting. Wo to those whom humour or 
passion lead into solitude, or who consecrate it not to God by 
mortification, sighs of penance^ and hymns of divine praise. To 
those who thus sanctify their desert or cell, it will be an anti- 
cipated paradise, an abyss of spiritual advantages and comforts, 
known only to such as have enjoyed them. The Lord will 
change the desert into a pluce of delights, and will make the 
solitude a paradise, and a garden worthy of himself. (V) In 
it only joy and jubilee shall be seen, nothing shall be heard 
but thanksgiving and praise. It is the dwelling of a terrestrial 
seraph, whose sole employment is to labour to know, and correct 
all secret disorders of his own soul, to forget the world, and 
all objects of vanity which could distract or entangle him; to 
subdue his senses, to purify the faculties of his soul, and 
entertain in his heart a constant fire of devotion, by occupying 
it assiduously on God, Jesus Christ, and heavenly things, and 
banishing all superfluous desires and thoughts ; lastly, to make 
daily progress in purity of conscience, humility, mortification, 
recollection, and prayer, and to find all his joy in the most 
fervent and assiduous adoration, love, and praise of his sove- 
reign Creator and Redeemer. 



He was, by birth, a Frenchman, and of royal blood; but stiJl 
more illustrious for his learning, and the extraordinary virtues 
he practised from his youth. He exercised himself in austere 
fasting, watching, and other mortifications ; was a great lover 
of chastity and temperance ; and so charitable as always to 
impoverish himself to enrich the poor. His reputation drew 

(i) Itia. Ixiii. 

March 27.] st. rupert, b. c 267 

persons from remote provinces to receive the advice and in^ 
structions. He removed all their doubts and scruples, com- 
forted the afflicted, cured the sick, and healed the disorders of 
souls. So distinguished a merit raised him to the episcopal 
see of Worms. But that people, being for the most part, idola- 
ters, could not bear the lustre of such sanctity, which condemned 
their irregularities and superstitions. They beat him with 
rods, loaded him with all manner of outrages, and expelled him 
the city. But God prepared for him another harvest. Theodon, 
duke of Bavaria, hearing of his reputation and miracles, sent 
messengers to him, earnestly beseeching him to come and preach 
the gospel to the Baioarians, or Bavarians, This happened two 
years after hi« expulsion from Worms ; during which interval 
he had made a journey to Rome. He was received at Ratisbon 
by Theodon and his court with all possible distinction, in 697, 
and found the hearts both of the nobles and people docile to the 
Word of God. The Christian faith had been planted in that 
country two hundred years before, by St. Severinus, the apostle 
of Noricum. After his death, heresies and heathenish super- 
stitions had entirely extinguished the light of the gospeL Bagin- 
trude, sister of duke Theodon, being a Christian, disposed her 
brother and the whole country to receive the faith. Rupert, 
with the help of other zealous priests, whom he had brought 
with him, instructed, and, after a general fast, baptized the 
duke Theodon and the lords and people of the whole country 
God confirmed his preaching by many miracles. He converted 
also to Christianity the neighbouring nations. After Ratisbon, 
the capital, the second chief seat of his labours was Laureacum, 
now called Lorch,* where he healed several diseases by prayer, 
and made many converts. However, it was not Lorch, nor 
the old Reginum, thence called Regensbourg, now Ratisbon, 
the capital of all those provinces, that was pitched upon to be 
the seat of the saint's bishopric, but the old Javavia, then almost 
in ruins, since rebuilt and called Saitzbourg. The duke Theodon 
adorned and enriched it with many magnificent donations, 
which enabled St. Rupert to found there several rich churches 
and monasteries. After that prince's death, his son, Theodebert, 
or Diotper, inheriting his zeal and piety, augmented consider- 

- A Tillage on the Danube, in the midway between Ratisbon and Vienna, 
the capital of Eastern Bavaria, at present Aastria. 


ably the revenueB of thia church. St. Rupert tooK a journey 
into France to procure anew supply of able labourers, and 
brought back to Saltzbourg twelve holy missionaries, with 
his niece St. Erentrude, a yirgin consecrated to God, for whom 
he built a great monastery, called Nunberg, of which she waa 
the first abbess.* St. Rupert laboured several years in this 
see, and died happily on Easter-day, which fell that year oq 
the 27th of Marehy after he had said mass and preached ; on 
which day the Roman and other Martyrologies mention him. 
His principal festival is kept with the greatest solemnity in 
Austria and Bavaria on the 25th of September, the day of one of 
the translations of his relics, which are kept in the church under 
his name in Saltzbourg. Mabillon and Bulteau, upon no slight 
grounds, think this saint to have lived a whole century later 
than is commonly supposed, and that he founded the church 
of Saltzbourg about the year 700. See his life, published by 
Canisius, Henschenius, and MaMUon, with the notes of the last* 
mentioned editor. 



From £«s. Hist. b. 7. e. 12. p. 363. 

A.D. 260. 

These eminent Christians, Priscus, Malehus, and Alexander, 
led a retired holy life in the country near Caesarea, in Palestine. 
During the fury of the persecution under Valerian, they often 
called to mind the triumphs of the martyrs; secretly reproached 
themselves with cowardice, as living like soldiers who passed 
their time in softness and ease, whilst their brethren and fellow- 
warriors bore all the heat of the battle. They could not long 
smother these warm sentiments in their breast; but expressed 
them to one onother. ** What," said they, ** whilst the secure 

* The bishop of Saltzbourg was, under Charlemaffne, made an archbishop 
and metropolitan of Bavaria, Austria, and its hereditary territories. He ia 
one of the first ecclesiastical princes of die empire, and ia elected by the 
canons of the cathedral, who axe all of noble extraction. 

Mabch 28.] ss. PRiscus, malchus, &c. mm. 2G9 

gate of heaveu is open, shall we shut it against ourselves P Shall 
we be so faint-hearted as not to suffer for the name of Christ, 
who died for us? Our brethren invite us by their example: their 
blood is a loud voice, which presses us to tread in their steps. 
Shall we be deaf to a cry calling us to the combat^ and to a 
glorious victory ? " Full of this holy ardour, they all, with one 
mind, repaired to Caesarea, and of their own accord, by a parti- 
cular instinct of grace, presented themselves before the governor, 
declaring themselves Christians. Whilst all others were struck 
w^ith admiration at the sight of their generous courage, the bar- 
barous judge appeared not able to contain his rage. Afler having 
tried on them all the tortures which he employed on other mar- 
tyrsy he condemned them to be exposed to wild beasts. They 
are honoured on this day in the Roman Martyr ology. 

In consecrating ourselves to the service of God, and to his pure 
love> the first and most essential condition is, that we do it with- 
out reserve, with an earnest desire of attaining to the perfection 
of our state, and a firm resolution of sparing nothing, and being 
deterred by no difficulties from pursuing this end with our whole 
strength ; and it must be our chief care constantly to maintain, 
and always increase this desire in our souls. Upon this condition 
depends all our spiritual progress. This is more essential in a 
religious state than the vows themselves ; and it i:^ this which 
makes the difference between the fervent and the luke-warm 
Christian. Many deceive themselves in this particular, and 
ilatter themselves their resolution of aspiring after perfection, 
with all their strength, is sincere, whereas it is very imperfect. 
Of this we can best judge by their earnestness to advance in a 
flpirit of prayer, and in becoming truly spiritual ; in crucifying 
self-love, overcoming their failings, and cutting off all occasions 
of dissipation, and all impediments of their spiritual advancement. 
Mortification and prayer, which are the principal means, present 
usually the greatest difficulties : but these, as St. Teresa observes, 
are better than half vanquished and removed by a firm resolution 
of not being discouraged by any obstacles, but of gathering from 
them fresh vigour and strength. Patience and fortitude crowu 
ia the saints what this fervent resolution begjin. 

370 ST. siXTCS, p. [March 28. 


He was a priest among the Roman clergy in 418^ when Pope 
Zozimus condemned the Pelagian heretics. Sixtus was the first, 
after this sentence^ who pronounced pnhlicly anathema against 
tbem, to stop their slander in Africa that he favoured their doc- 
trine, as we are assured hy St. Austin and St. Prosper in his 
chronicle. The former sent him two congratulatory letters the 
same year, in which he applauds this testimony of his zeal, and 
in the first of these letters professes a high esteem of a treatise 
written hy him in defence of the grace of God against its enemies. 
It was that calumny of the Pelagian heretics that led Gamier 
into the mistake, that our saint at first favoured their errors. 
But a change of this kind would not have heen huried in silence. 
After the death of St. Celestine, Sixtus was chosen pope, in 432. 
He wrote to Nestorius to endeavour to reclaim him after his con- 
demnation at Ephesus, in 431 : hut his heart was hardened, and 
he stopped his ears against all wholesome admonitions. The 
pope had the comfort to see a happy reconciliation* made, hy his 
endeavours, hetween the Orientals and St. Cyril: in which he 
much commended the humility and pacific dispositions of the 
latter. He says, " that he was charged with the care and solici- 
tude of all the churches in the world,(l) and that it is unlawful for 
any one to abandon the faith of the Apostolic Roman Church, in 
which St. Peter teaches in his successors what he received from 
Christ."(2) When Bassus, a nobleman of Rome, had been con- 
demned by the emperor, and excommunicated by a synod of 
bishops for raising a grievous slander against the good pope, the 
meek servant of Christ visited and assisted him in person, admi- 
nistered him the viaticum in his last sickness, and buried him 
with his own hands. Julian of Eclanum or Eeulanum, the famous 
Pelagian, earnestly desiring to recover his see, made great efforts 
to be admitted to the communion of the Church, pretending that 
he had become a convert, and used several artifices to convince 
our saint that he really was so : but he was too well acquainted 
with them to be imposed on. This holy pope died soon after, on 
the 28th of March, in 440, having sat in the see near eight years. 
See his letters, Anastasius's Pontifical, with the notes of Bian« 
chini, &c. 

(1) Ep. 1. ad Episc. Orient p. 1236. Ep. decret, t. ) » 

(2) £p. 6. ad Joan. Antioch. contra Nestor. 


March 28.] st. gontran, k. c. 271 


He was son of King Clotaire, and grandson of Clovis I. and St. 
Clotildis. Being the second son, whilst his brothers Charibert 
reigned at Paris, and Sigebert in Austrasia, residing at Metz, he 
was crowned King of Orleans and Burgundy in 661, making 
Challons on the Saone his capital. When compelled to take up 
arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made 
no other use of his victories, under the conduct of a brave general 
called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. He pro- 
tected his nephews against the practices of the wicked dowager 
queens, Brunehault of Sigebert, and Fredegonde of Chilperic, the 
firebrands of France. The putting to death the physicians of the 
queen at her request, on her death-bed, and the divorcing his 
wife Mercatrude, are crimes laid to his charge, in which the bar- 
barous manners of his nation involved him : but these he effaced 
by tears of repentance. He governed his kingdom, studying 
rather to promote the temporal happiness of others than his own, 
a stranger to the passions of pride, jealousy, and ambition, and 
making piety the only rule of his policy. The prosperity of his 
reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who think that 
human policy cannot be modelled by the maxims of the gospel, 
whereas nothing can render a government more flourishing. He 
always treated the pastors of the church with respect and vene- 
ration, regarding them as his fathers, and honouring and con- 
sul ting them as his masters. He was the protector of the oppressed, 
and the tender parent of his subjects, whom he treated as his 
children. He poured out his treasures among them with a holy 
profusion ; especially in the time of a pestilence and famine. He 
gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, 
prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day, as a 
victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of his justice, to avert 
his indignation, which he believed he himself had provoked, and 
irawn down upon his innocent people. He was a severe punisher 
of crimes in his officers and others, and, by many wholesome 
regulations, restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops; 
bat no man was more ready to forgive offences against his own 
person. He contented himself with imprisoning a man who, 
through the instigation of Queen Fredegonde, had attempted to 
f»tab him, and he spared another assassin sent by the same wicked 
woman, because he had taken shelter in a church. "With royal 

2T3 SS. JONAS, BABACfllSlUS, &C. MM. [MaECH 2&. 

magnificence he built and endowed many charches and mouas* 
teries. St. Gregory of Tours relates many miracles performed 
by him, both before and after his death, to some of which he was 
an eye-witness. This good king, like another penitent David, 
having spent his life after his conversion, though on the throne, 
in the retirement and penance of a recluse, (as St. Hugh of Cluny 
says of him, exhorting King Philip I. to imitate his example,) 
died on the 28th of March, in 693, in the sixty-eighth year of his 
age, having reigned thirty-one and some months. He was 
buried in the church of St. Marcellus, which he had founded. 
The Huguenots scattered his ashes in the sixteenth century: 
only his skull escaped their fury, and is now kept there in a 
silver case. He is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. See 
St Gregory of Tours, Fredegarius, and Baillet 



From their genuine acts compiled by Esaias, a noble Armenian knight in the 
troops of King Sapor^ an eye-witness ; published in the original Chaldaic, 
by Stephen Assemani, Act. Mart. Orient, t. 1. p. 211. They were much 
adulterated by the Greeks in Metaphrastes. Buinart and Tillemont think 
Sapor raised no persecution before his fortieth year ; but Assemani proves 
from these acts, and several other monuments, a persecution in his eigh- 
teenth year. See Prsf. Gen. and p. 214. app. 

A.1). 327. 

King Sapor, in the eighteenth year of his reign, raised a bloody 
persecution against the Christians, and demolished their churches 
and monasteries. Jonas and Barachisiu^ two brothers of the 
city Beth- Asa, hearing that several Christians lay under sen- 
tence of death at Hubaham, went thither to encourage and serve 
them. Nine of that number received the crown of martyrdom. 
After their execution, Jonas and Barachisius were apprehended 
for having exhorted them to die. The president mildly en- 
treated the two brothers to obey the king of kings, meaning the 
king of Persia, and to worship the sun, moon, iire, and water. 
Their answer was, that it was more reasonable to obey the 
'mmcrtal King of heaven and earth, than a mortal prince. The 



Magians were much offended to hear their king called mortal. 
By their advice the martyrs were separated, and Barachisius 
was cast into a very narrow close dungeon, Jonas they de- 
tained with them, endeavouring to persuade him to sacrifice 
to fire, the sun, and water. The prince of the Magians, seeing 
him inflexible, caused him to be laid flat on his belly with a 
stake under his navel, and to be beaten both with knotty clubs 
and with rods. The martyr all the time continued in prayer, 
saying: *'I thank you, God of our father Abraham. Enable 
me I beseech you to offer to you acceptable holocausts. One 
thing I have asked of the Lord : this will I seek after, (l) The 
sun, moon, fire, and water I renounce : I believe and confess the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." The judge ordered him next 
to be set in a frozen pond, with a cord tied to his foot. After 
supper and a short nap he sent for Barachisius, and told him 
his brother had sacrificed. The martyr said it was impossible 
that he should have paid divine honours to fire, a vile 
creature, and spoke much on the immensity and power of God, 
and with such eloquence and force, that the Magians were as- 
tonished to hear him, and said one to another, that if he were 
permitted to speak in public, he would draw over many from 
their religion. Whereupon they concluded for the future to 
hold his interrogatories in the night. In the mean time 
they caused two red-rot iron plates, and two red-hot hammers, 
to be applied under each arm, and said to him: ^^If you 
shake off either of these, by the king's fortune, you deny 
Christ." He meekly replied: "I fear not your fire; nor shall 
I throw off your instruments of torture. I beg you to try 
without delay all your torments on me. He who is engaged 
in combat for God, is full of courage." They ordered melted 
lead to be dropped into his nostrils and eyes; and that he 
should then be carried to prison, and there hung up by one 
foot. Jonas, after this, being brought out of his pool, the 
Magians said to him : " How do you find yourself this morn- 
ing? We imagine yon passed the last night but very un- 
comfortably." " No," replied Jonas : ** fi-om the day I came 
into the world, I never remember a night more sweet and 
agrpeable : for I was wonderfully refreshed by the remembrance 
of Christ's sufferings." The Maj^ans said : ^ Tour companion 
hath renounced." The martyr, interrupting them, answered : 
(1) i^ia. xxTi.4« 


I know that he hath long ago renounced the devil aad 
Lis angela." The Magians urged : *^ Take care lest you 
perish, abandoned both by God and man." Jonas replied : " If 
you are really wise, as you boast, judge if it be not better to 
80W the com, than to keep it hoarded up. Our life is a seed 
sown to rise again in the world to come, when it will be 
renewed by Christ in immortal light." The Magians said : 
•' Your books have drawn many aside." Jonas answered : " They 
have indeed drawn many from worldly pleasures. When a servant 
of Christ is in his sufferings inebriated with love from the passion 
of his Lord, he forgets the transitory state of this short life, its 
riches, estates, gold, and honours; regardless of kings and 
princes, lords and noblemen, where an eternity is at stake, he 
desires nothing but the sight of the only true King, whose empire 
is everlasting, and whose power reaches to all ages." The judges 
commanded all his fingers and toes to be cut off, joint by joint, 
and scattered about. Then they said to him : " Now wait the 
harvest to reap other hands from this seed." To whom he said ; 
'* Other hands I do not ask. God is present, who first framed 
me, and who will give me new strength." After this the skin 
was torn off the martyr's head, his tongue was cut out, and he 
was thrown into a vessel of boiling pitch ; but the pitch by a 
sudden ebullition running over the servant of God was not hurt 
by it. The judges next ordered him to be squeezed in a wooden 
press till his veins, sinews, and fibres burst. Lastly, his body 
was sawn with an iron saw, and, by pieces, thrown into a dry 
cistern. Guards were appointed to watch the sacred relics. Jest 
Christians should steal them away. The judges then called upon 
Barachisius to spare his own body. To whom he said: " This 
body I did not frame, neither will I destroy it. God its maker 
will again restore it; and will judge you and your king." Hor- 
misdatscirus, turning to Mahamarsces, said : *' By our delays 
we affront the king. These men regard neither words nor tor- 
ments." They therefore agreed that he should be beaten with 
sharp pointed rushes ; then that splinters of reeds should be 
applied to his body, and by cords strait drawn and pulled, should 
be pressed deep into his flesh, and that in this condition Lis body 
pierced all over with sharp spikes, armed like a porcupine, should 
be rolled on the ground. After these tortures, he was put into 
the screw or press, and boiling pitch and brimstone wer<^ poured 
mto his mouth. By this last torment he obtained a crovn oquai 

March 29.] ss. jonas, baraschisius, &c. mm. 275 

to that of his brother. Under their most exquisite tortures they 
thought they bought heaven too cheap. Upon the news of their 
death, Abtusciatus, an old friend, came and purchased their 
bodies for five hundred drachms and three silk garments, binding 
himself also by oath never to divulge the sale. The acts are 
closed by these words : " This book was written from the mouths 
of witnesses, and contains the acts of the saints, Jonas, Bara- 
chisius, and others, martyrs of Christ, who by his succour fought 
triumphed, and were crowned, in whose prayers we beg plact 
may by found, by Esaias, son of Adabus of Arzun, in Armenia, 
of the troop of royal horsemen, who was present at their inter- 
rogatories and tortures, and who wrote the history of their con- 
flicts." They were crowned on the 29th of the moon of December. 
This was the 24th of that month, in the year of Christ 327, of 
Sapor II. the 18th. The Roman Martyrology mentions them on 
the 29th of March. 

Those powerful motives, which supported the martyrs under 
the sharpest torments, ought to inspire us with patience, resig- 
nation, and holy joy, under sickness, and all crosses or trials. 
These are the times of the greatest spiritual harvest, by the 
exercise of the most perfect virtues. For nothing is more 
heroic in the practice of Christian virtue, nothing more precious 
in the sight of God, than the sacrifice of patience, submission, 
constant fidelity and charity in a state of suffering. Under 
sickness we are too apt eagerly to desire health, that we may 
be able to do something for God, and to discharge the obli- 
gations of our profession, as we persuade ourselves. This is 
a mere invention of self-love, which is impatient under the 
weight of humiliation. Nothing indeed is more severe to nature 
than such a state of death, and there is nothing which it is not 
desirous of doing, to recover that active life, which carries an 
air of importance, by making an appearance in the tumultuous 
scene of the world. But how much does the soul generally lose 
by such an exchange ! Ah ! did we but truly know how grea; 
are the spiritual advantages and riches, and how great the 
glory of patience founded upon motives of true charity, and how- 
precious the victories and triumphs are which it gains over sell- 
love, we should rejoice too much in a state of suffering and 
humiliation ever to entertain any inordinate desires of changing 
it. We should only ask for health in sickness under this 
condition, if it be more expedient for God's honour and our 

276 PS. .VEM0GASTE8, &C. MM. [MaBCH 2t^. 

spuitual advancement. With St. Paul, we should find a joy 
and delight in a state of privation and suffering, in which we 
enter into a true sense of our absolute weakness, feel that we 
are nothing, and have no reliance but on God alone. 



Gensebic, the Arian king of the Vandals, in Africa, having, 
on his return out of Italy, in 457, enacted new penal laws, and 
severer than any he had till then put in force against Catholics^ 
count Armogastes, was on that occasion deprived of his honouia 
and dignities at court, and most cruelly tortured. But no sooner 
had the jailors bound him with cords, but they broke of them- 
selves, as the martyr lifted up his eyes to heaven ; and this 
happened several times. And though they afterwards hung 
him up by one foot with his head downwards for a considerable 
time, the saint was no more affected by this torment than if he 
had lain all the while at his ease on a feather-bed. Theodoric, 
the king's son, thereupon ordered his head to be struck off: but 
one of his Arian priests diverted him from it, advising him to 
take other measures with him to prevent his being looked upon 
as a martyr, by those of his party, which would be of disservice 
to the opposite cause. He was therefore sent into Byzancena 
to work in the mines; and some time after, for his greater 
disgrace, he was removed thence into the neighbourhood of 
Carthage, and employed in keeping cows. But he looked upon 
it as his glory to be dishonoured before men in the cause of 
God. It was not long before he had a revelation that his end 
drew near. So having foretold the time of his death, and given 
orders to a devout Christian about the place where he desired 
to be interred, the holy confessor, a few days after, went to 
receive the rewards of those who suffer in the cause of truth. 

Archinimus, of the city of Mascola, in Numidia, resisted all 
the artifices which the king could use to overcome his faith, 
and was condemned to be beheaded, but was reprieved whil&t 
he stood under the axe. Satur, or Saturus, was master of the 
household to Huneric, by whom he was threatened to oe de- 
prived of his estate, goods, alavea, wife, and childreui for his 
faith. His own wife omitted nothing in her pow«* to ^eTail 

MiRcn 29,] ST. GUNDi^us, a 277 

With him to purchase his pardon at the expense of his conscience. 
Bat he courageously answered her in the words of Job • " Yau 
have spoken like one of the foolish women.(l) If you loved me, 
you would give me different advice, and not push me on to a 
second death. Let them do their worst : I will always remem- 
ber our Lord's words : Jf any man come to me^ and haie not 
his father and mother, his wife and children, his brethren and 
sisters, and his own life alsoy he cannot he my disciple "(2) He 
suffered many torments, was stripped of all his substance, forbid- 
den ever to appear in public, and reduced to great distress. But 
God enrichtd him with his graces, and called him to himself*. 
See St. Victor Vitensis, Hist. Persec. Vandal. 1. 1, n. 14. 



Succeeded his master St. Columban in that charge, in 611. 
He sanctified himself by humility, continual prayer, watching, 
and fasting ; was the spiritual father of six hundred monks, and 
of many holy bishops and saints, and died in 625. He is 
named in the Martyrologies of Ado, and in the Roman. See 
his life by Jonas, his colleague, in the Bollandists and in 


This saint, who was formerly honoured with great devotion in 
Wales, was son to the king of the Dimetians in South- Wales. 
After the death of his father, though the eldest son, he divided 
the kingdom with his six brothers, who nevertheless respected 
and obeyed him as if he had been their sovereign. He married 
Gladusa, daughter of Braghan, prince of thrt country, which is 
called from him Brecknockshire, and was father of St. Canoe 
and St. Keyna. St. Gundleus had by her the great St. Cadoc, 
who afterwards founded the famous monastery of Llancarvan, 
three miles from Cowbridge, in Glamorganshire. Gundleus 
lived so as to have always in view the heavenly kingdom for 
which we are created by God. To secure this, he retired 
wholly from the world long before his death, and passed his 

„^, „, (1) Job ii. 9. (2> Luke xiv. 26. 

VOTi III *■ ' ^ ' T 

278 «T. btarb:, h. c. [March 29 

time in a solitary little dwelling near a churcb which he had 
built. His clothing was sack-cloth, his food was hariey-breadj 
upon which he usually strewed ashes, and his drink was water. 
Prayer and contemplation were his constant occupation, to which 
he rose at midnight, and he subsisted by the labour of his hands : 
thus he lired many years. Some days before his death he sent 
for St. Dubritius and his son St. Cadoc, and by their assis- 
tance, and the holy rites of the church, prepared himself fojr 
his passage to eternity. He departed to our Lord towards the 
end of the fifth century, and was glorified by miracles. See- 
his life in Capgrave and Henschenius, from the #3llection of 
John of Tinmoutk See also bishop Usher* 


Some Greeks rank among the saints on this day Mark, bishop 
of Arethusa, in Syria, in the fourth age. When Constantius put 
to death his uncle Julius Constantius, brother of Constantine 
the Great, with his eldest son ; the two younger, Gallus and 
Julian, narrowly escaped the sward. In that danger Mark con- 
cealed Julian, and secretly supplied him with necessaries for 
his subsistence. When Julian became emperor, he commanded 
that the temples which had been demolished by Christian s^ 
during the two preceding reigns, should be rebuilt at theiv 
expense. Mark had, by the authority of Constantius, demol- 
ished a very magnificent temple which was held in great vene- 
ration by the idolaters : he had also built a church, and con- 
verted a great number of infidels. Authorized by the law of 
Julian^ the heathens of Arethusa, when they saw themselves 
uppermost, fell on the Chiistians ; and Mark, finding that they 
were ready to show their resentment against him in particular 
which they had long concealed, he at first, pursuant to the gospe 
precept, betook himself to flight to escape their fury. But 
understanding that they bad apprehended some of his flock 
iHstead of him, he returned and delivered himself up to the 
persecutors, to animate others in the same cause by his example 
and instructions. They seized him soon after his return^ dragged 
him through the streets by the hair, or any part they could lay 
hold of, without the least compassion for his age, or regard for 
iais virtue and learning. Having stript him, and scourged him 
ai; o^ver his body, joining ignominy and insults with cruelty. 


MaEOH 2S.J ST. MARK, B. c. 279 

ji they threw him into the stinking public jakes. Having tak«»n 

^ him from thence, they left him to the children, ordering then* 

iji to prick and pierce him, without mercy, with their writing-styles 

., or steel pencils. They bound his legs with cords so tight, as to 

. cut and bruise his flesh to the very bone ; they rang off his 

. ears with small strong threads ; and in this maimed bloody 

y, condition they pushed him from one to another. After this they 

*. rubbed him over with honey and fat broth ; and shutting him up 

. in a kind of cage, hung him up in the air where the sun was 

. most scorching, at noon-day, in the midst of summer, in order to 
draw the wasps and gnats upon him, whose stings are exceed- 
ingly sharp and piercing in those hot countries. He was so calm 
in the midst of his sufferings, that, though so sorely wounded and 
covered with flies and wasps, he bantered them as he hung in 
the air ; telling them, that while they were grovelling on the 

^- earth, he was raised by them towards heaven. They frequently 

^f solicited him to rebuild their temple, but though they reduced 

^ their demands by degrees to a trifling sum, he constantly an- 

'•* swered that it would be an impiety to give them one farthing 

* towards such a work. This indeed would be to concur to 

^1 idolatrous worship ; but his demolishing the temple would have 

^ been against the order of law and justice, had he done it 

i** without public authority. At length the fury of the people was 

^ turned into admiration of his patience, and they set him at 

^ liberty ; and several of them afterwards begged of him to instruct 

'^ them in the principles of a religion which was capable of inspiring 

t* such a resolution. Having spent the remainder of his life in 

^ the faithful discharge of the duties of his station, he died in 

ii* peace under Jovian or Valens. He is not named in the Roman 

)f. Martyrology, nor venerated by the church among the saints. 

iJf He had been long engaged in the errors and intrigues of the 

f iSemi-Arians; but the encomiums given him by St. Gregory, 

^ JSazianzen, Theodoret, and Sozomen, when they relate hi« 

)i Hullerings, show that towards the end of the reign of Conslan- 

ll* fiiWj htf joined in the orthodox communion. 




l^'rom his life written hj Daniel, a monk of Raithu, soon after his death^ and 
iTOin his own works. See Baltean, Hist Monast. d'Orient, and d'Andiliy 
or rather his nephew, Le Maitre, in his life prefixed to the French trans- 
lation of his works. See also Jos. Assemani, in Cal. Univ. ad 30 Martii, 
t. 6. p. 213. 

A.D. 606. 

St. John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Cli- 
macus, from his excellent book entitled Climax^ or the Ladder 
to Perfection, was born about the year 625, probably in Pales- 
tine. By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences, 
he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at 
sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the 
world promised him, to dedicate himself to God in a religious 
state, in 647. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the 
lime of the disciples of St. Antony and St. Hilarioa, had been 
always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when 
he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual 
contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the 
danger of dissipation and relaxation, to which numerous com- 
munities are generally more exposed than others, chose not t/> 
live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage 
on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Mar- 
tyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence, he curbed the 
insolent itch of talking about every thing, an ordinary vice in 
learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency 
By perfect humility and obedience, he banished the dangerous 
desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, 
nor disputed with any one. So perfect was his submission, 
that he seemed to have no self-will.- He undertook to sail 
through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direc- 
tion of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could 
not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells 
us.(l) From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without 
interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible ; and, atten- 
tive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. 

(1) Gr. 1. 

March 30.j st. jqhn climaous, a. 281 

Foiir years be flpent in the trial of Ms own strengtli, and in 
learning the obligations of his state, before be made bis religious 
profession which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his 
writings, he severely condemns engagements made by persons too 
young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and 
fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself 
to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust 
the more perfect : and from that moment be seemed to be 
renewed in spirit; and. his master admired the strides with 
which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced, daily 
more and more, towards God by self-denial, obedience, humility, 
«ind the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer. 

In the year 660, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Mar- 
tyrius by death ; having then spent nineteen years in that place 
in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent 
director,* he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called 
Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles 
from the church, probably the same which had been built a 
little befere, by order of the emperor Justinian, for the use of 
the monks, at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the 
Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. (1) Thither he went 
every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other ancho- 
rets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the 
celebration of the divine mysteries when they all communicated. 
His diet was very sparing, though to shun ostentation and the 
danger of vain-glory, he eat of every thing that was allowed 
among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from 
flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment ; and he 
practised what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that 
in all their actions, thoughts, and words, they should keep them- 
selves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all 
they do to his holy will.(2) By habitual contemplation he 
acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility 
of lovingly beholding God in all his works, that this practice 
seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his 
studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy 
scriptures, and fathers, and was one of the most learned doc- 
tors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility 
he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquirec! 
ialents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Hoh, 
/I) Fiocop. L 5. de Kdif. Justin. (2) S. Jo. Clim. gr. 27. n. 67. 

282 ST. JOHN CLiBfAcus, A. [Mabch 30. 

Obost ««aricbed bis soul. By tbis secrecy be fled firom the 
d angina of vain-glory, wbicb, like a leecb, sticks to our best 
actioiiB, and sucking from tbem its nourisbment robs us ci 
tbeir fruit. As if tbis cell bad not been sufficiently remote 
from tbe eyes of men, St. Jobn frequently retired into a neigh- 
bouring cavern, wbieb be bad made in tbe rock, where no one 
conld come to disturb bis devotions, or interrupt bis tears. 
So ardent were bis charity and compunction, tbat bis eyes 
seemed like two fountains, wbicb scarcely ever ceased to flow ; 
and bis continual sigbs and groans to beaven, under the 
weight of the miseries inseparable from bis mortal pilgrimage, 
were not to be equalled by the vehemency of tbe cries of those 
wbo suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, 
he admitted a boly anchoret named Moyses, to live witb him 
as bis disciple. 

God bestowed on St. Jobn an extraordinary grace of bealing 
tbe spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called 
Isaac, was brought almost to tbe brink of despair by most 
violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. 
John, who perceived by his tears bow much he underwent from 
that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The 
servant of God commended his faith, and said : *' My son, let 
us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly pros- 
trated themselves together on tbe ground in fervent supplication 
for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left 
Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual 
advice : but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured 
him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable 
discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere 
calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition : he 
therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a 
twelvemonth. This his humility and modesty so much aston- 
ished his calumniators, that they joined tbe rest of the monks 
ia beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving 
charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to 
bury that talent of science which he had received for tbe benefit 
of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others^ 
with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth 
to instruct bis neighbour in tbe rules of perfect virtue : in whicK 
office, such was the reputation of bis wisdom and experience, 
that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place. 

fMARtJH '^. ST. JOHN CIiIMlCUS, A. 283 

St. John was now seventy-five years old, and bad spent forty 
of them in his hermitage, when in the year six hundred, he was 
vnanifnously chosen abliot of Mount Sinai, and superior general 
of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he 
was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, 
in the time of a great drought and famine, made their appli* 
cation to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with 
<jod in their behalf. The saint failed not with great earnest- 
ness to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and 
his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rtiins. 
St Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote 
to our holy abbot,(l) recommending himself to his prayers, 
and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his 
hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who 
had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge, 
when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might 
promote the sanctification of all those who were intrusted to 
bis care. That posterity might receive some share in the 
benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous 
abbot of Baithu, a monastery si^ttiate towards the Red-Sea, 
•entreated him by that obedience he had ever practised, even 
with regard to his inferiors that it would draw up the most ne- 
cessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christaia 
perfection. The saint answered him, that nothing but extreme 
humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, 
destitute of every sort of virtue ; but that he received his 
commands with respect, though far above his strength, never 
considering his own insufl&ciency. "Wherefore, apprehensive of 
falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, 
with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw 
some imperfect outlines as an unskilfiil painter, leaving them to 
receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This 
produced the excellent work which he called Climax, or the 
Ladder of Religious Perfection. This book being written in sen- 
tences, almost, in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in 
sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity, an inexpressible 
unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and 
perspicuity, very much enhance the value of this performance : 
but its chief merit consists in the sublime s^itiments, and perfect 
description of ail Christian virtues, which it contains. The 
(1) SL Greg. 1. 11. Ep. /. .. 13 Ep. 16. t. 2. p. 1091. 

2R4 , ST. JOHN CLIMiCUS, 1. [MAiCH *7tK 

author confirms Jiis precepts by several edifyvag examples, as of 
obedience and penance.(l) In describing a monastery of three 
hundred and thirty monks, which he had visited near Alexandria 
in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, 
named Isidore, who petitioning to be admitted into the house, 
said to the abbot : ^' As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am 
I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without 
the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of every one that 
passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a 
leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and 
patience. He told St. John, that during the first year he always 
considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sus- 
tained violent conflicts. The second year he passed in tran- 
quillity and confidence ; and the third with relish and pleasure 
in his humiliations So great was his virtue, that the abbot 
determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted 
to the priesthood ; but the humility of the holy penitent pre- 
vented the execution of that design ; for having begged at least 
a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help 
admiring the cook of tbis numerous community who seemed 
always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his 
continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourish- 
ed so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a 
dissipating laborious employment? He said, that serving the 
monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, 
but God in his servants: and that the fire he always had 
before his eyes, rem.nded him of that fire which will burn souls 
for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives 
of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a miie 
from the former, ha'^h been already abridged in our language. 
John the Sabaite told our saint as of a third person, that seeing 
himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this waa 
not the way to satisfy for his sins. Wherefore, with the leave 
of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and 
after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the 
amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which 
only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to him- 
self ; '* Poor Antioch js thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." 
After passing othei thirteen years in contempt and the most 
fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his - 
(1) Gr. 4 and 6. 


whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of 
illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been 
dead for the, space of an hour : but recovering, he shut himself 
up in his cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continu- 
ally weeping, on the perpetual meditation of death. When he 
was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these 
words of edification : " He who hath death always before his 
eyes, will never sin." John, abbot of Raithu, explained this 
book of our saint by judicious comments, which are all extant. 
We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same 
person, concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts 
him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and 
encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge ; 
for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer 
him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and 

St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity, 
during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount 
Sinai : and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and 
reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little 
before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual 
exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort 
in his earthly pilgrimage : and in this imitation of the functions 
of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the 
monastic state.(l) In his excellent maxims concerning the gift 
of holy tears, the fruit of charity,(2) we seem to behold a lively 
portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on 
the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His 
spiritual son George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, 
earnestly begged of God that he might not be separated from his 
dear master and guide ; and followed him by a happy death 
within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. 
John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, 
p. 306, 306. 

St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects 
of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a 
subject. **A mother," says he,(3) "feels less pleasure when 
she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes 
with her own milk, than the true child of charity does, when 
united, as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in 
(1) Gr. 1. (2) Gr. 7. 27. 30. (3) Grad. 30. n. 12. 


the arms of his heavenly Father. (1) Charity opewttes in some 
persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of the:nselves. 
It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, 
that they cannot help crying out : The Lord is my helper and 
my protector : in him hath my heart confided^ and I have been 
helped And my flesh hath flourished again^ and with my will 
I will give praise to him.{2) This joy which they feel in their 
hearts, is reflected on their countenances ; and when once God 
has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his char- 
ity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror* 
the brightness and serenity of their souls : even as Moses, bein^ 
honoured with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his 
glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to 
obtain the gift of charity : " My God, I pretend to nothing upon 
this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer, that 
to be separated from you may be impossible : let others desire 
riches and glory : for my part, I desire but one thing, and that 
is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all 
my hopes of happiness and repose." 


Was successor to the holy bishop Peter; and faithfully dis- 
charged all the duties of a worthy pastor until his death, which 
happened in 660. His name is mentioned in the Roman and 
Sicilian Martyrologies. See the Bollandists and Baillet. 


Who having converted the country of Senlis to the faith, about 
the same time that St. Dionysius preached in France^ was made 
first bishop of Senlis, and died in peace in the midst of his flock. 
Spc the Bollandists and Tillem. t. 4. p. 719. 

(\) Gr. n. 14 (2) Ps. xxvii. 




From Theodoret, Hist. Eccles. 1. 5. o. 39. &c. 

A.D. 424. 

ISDEGERDES, son of Sapor III., put a stop to the cruel persecu- 
tions against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by 
Sapor II., and the Church had enjoyed twelve years' peace in 
that kingdom, when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet 
zeal of one Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the 
Pyraeum, or temple of fire, the great divinity of the Persians. 
King Isdegerdes threatened to demolish all the churches of the 
Christians, unless he would rebuild it. Abdas had done ill in 
destroying the temple, but did well in refusing to rebuild it ; for 
nothing can make it lawful to contribute to any act of idolatry, 
or to the building a temple, as Theodoret observes. Isdegerdes 
therefore demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to 
death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the 
Church, which continued forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes 
died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Var- 
anes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity. The 
very description which Theodoret, a contemporary writer, and 
one that lived in the neighbourhood, gives of the cruelties he 
exercised on the Christians, strikes us with horror : some were 
flayed alive in different parts of the body, and suffered all 
kinds of torture that could be invented : others, being stuck all 
over with sharp reeds, were hauled and rolled about in that con- 
uiiion ; others were tormented divers other ways, such as nothing 
tmt the most hellish malice was capable of suggesting. Amongst 
these glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon. 
The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had 
lain a year in the dungeon, when an ambassador from the em- 
peror obtained his enlargement, on condition he should never 
speak to any of the courtiers about religion. The ambassador 
passed his word in his behalf that he would not : but Benjamin, 
who was a minister of the gospel, declared that he could not 
detain the truth in captivity, conscious to himself of the condem- 
nation of the slothful servant for having hid his talent. He 
therefore neglected no opportunity of announcing Chiist. The 

2S8 ST. BENJAMIN, M. [MARCtt 31. 

king, being informed that be still preached the faith in bi^> king- 
dom, ordered him to be apprehended ; but the martyi made no 
other reply to bis threats than by putting this question to the 
king : What opinion be would have of any of his subjects who 
should renounce his allegiance to him, and join in war against 
him ? The enraged tyrant caused reeds to be run in between the 
nails and the flesh both of his bands and feet, and the same to 
be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, 
and this to be frequently repeated with violence. He lastly 
ordered a knotty stake to be thrust into bis bowels to rend a^id 
tear them, in whicb torment he expired in the year 424. The 
Roman Martyrology places his name on the 31 st of March. 

St. Epbrem considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, 
makes on them the following pious reflections : '* The wisdom of 
philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb 
througb amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spec- 
tacle and glorious actions of the martyrs : the tyrants and 
judges were not able to express their astonishment when they 
beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these 
holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadfui 
day of judgment, if we wbo have never been exposed to any 
cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have 
neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life ? No 
temptations, nor torments, were able to draw them from that love 
which they bore to God : but we, living in rest and delights, 
refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall 
we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, 
standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the markd 
of their wounds ? What shall we then show ? Shall we pre- 
sent a lively faith ? true charity towards God ? a perfect disen- 
gagement of our aflFections from earthly things ? souls freed 
from the tyranny of the passions P silence and recollection ? 
meekness ? almsdeeds ? prayers poured forth with clean hearts ^ 
compunction, watchings, tears P Happy shall he be whom such 
good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the mar- 
tyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall 
appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels. We 
entreat you, most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most 
cruel torments for God our Saviour and his love, on which 
account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to 
him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, fovertid 

AlARCH 31.] ST. ACACIUS, B. C. 280 

with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ, that it 
iiiay enlighten our souls that we may love him, &c/'(l) 



St. Acacius was bishop of Antioch, probably the town of that 
name in Phrygia, where the Marcionites were numerous. He 
was surnamed Agath-angel, or Good-angel, and extremely re- 
spected by the people for his sanctity. It was owing to his zea- 
that not one of his flock renounced Christ, by sacrificing to idols 
during the persecution of Decius, a weakness which several o 
the Marcionite heretics had betrayed. Our saint himself made 
a glorious coijfesssion of his faith ; of which the following rela- 
tion, ti*anscribed from the public register, is a voucher : 

Martian, a man of consular dignity, arriving at Antioch, a 
small town of his government, ordered the bishop to be brought 
before him. His name was Acacius, and he was styled the 
buckler and refuge of that country for his universal charity 
and episcopal zeal. Martian said to him : ^' As you have the 
happiness to live under the Roman laws, you are bound to love 
and honour our princes, who are our protectors." Acacius 
answered : ** Of all the subjects of the empire, none love and 
honour the emperor more than the Christians. We pray without 
intermission for his person, and that it may please God to grant 
him long life, prosperity, success, and all benedictions ; that he 
may be endowed by him with the spirit of justice and wisdom 
to govern his people , that his reign be auspicious, and pros- 
perous, blessed with joy, peace, and plenty throughout all the 
provinces that obey him." Martian. " All this I commend 
but that the emperor may be the better convinced of your sub- 
mission and fidelity, come now and offer him a sacrifice with 
me." Acacius. " I have already told you, that I pray to the 
great and true God for the emperor ; but he ought not to require 

sacrifice from us, nor is there any due to him or to any man 
whaf8oever." Martian. " Tell us what God you adore, that we 
may al^o pay him our offerings and homages ?" ACACIUS. " I 

(1) St. Kpliren Horn, in SS. Martyres, t. 3. Op. Gr. et I At p. 251. cO. 
Vadc. au. i'i4o. 

290 ST. icACius, B. c. [March 31. 

vish from my heart you did but know him to your advao- 
tage." Martian. "Tell me his name." Acacius. **He is 
called the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." Martian. 
* Are these the names of gods ?" AcACius. " By no means, but 
of men to whom the true God spoke ; he is the only God, and 
he alone is to be adored, feared, and loved." Martian. " What 
is this God ?" AcAcnjS. " He is the most high Adonia, who is 
seated above the cherubim and seraphim." Martian." What 
is a seraph ?" Acacius. "A ministering spirit of the most high 
God, and one of the prindpal lords of the heavenly court." 
Martian. " What chimeras are these ? Lay aside these whima 
of invisible beings, and adore such gods as you can see." Aca- 
cius. '^ Tell me who are those gods to whom you would have 
me sacrifice?" Martian. "Apollo, the saviour of men, who 
preserves us from pestilence and famine, who enlightens, pre- 
serves, and governs the universe." ACACIUS. " Do you mean 
Ihat wretch that could not preserve his own life : who, being in 
love with a young woman, (Daphne,) ran about distracted in 
pursuit of her, not knowing that he was never to possess the 
object of his desires. It is therefore evident that he could noi 
foresee things to come, since he was in the dark as to his own 
fate : apd as clear that he could be no god, who was thus cheated 
by a creature. All know likewise that he had a base passion 
for Hyacinth, a beautiful boy, and was so awkward as to break 
the head of that minion, the fond object of his criminal passion, 
with a quoit. Is not he also that god who, with Neptune, 
turned mason, hired himself to a king, (Laomedon of Troy,) 
and built the walls of a city ^ Would you oblige me to sacrifice 
to such a divinity, or to Esculapius, thunderstruck by Jupiter ? 
or to Yenus, whose life was infamous, and to a hundred such 
monsters to whom you offer sacrifice? No, though my life 
itself depended on it, ought I to pay divine honours to those 
whom I should blush to imitate, and of whom 1 can entertain 
no other sentiments than those of contempt and execration P 
You adore Gods, the imitators of whom you yourselves would 
punish." Martian. "It is usual for you Christians to raise 
several calumnies against our gods ; for which reason I command 
you to come now with me to a banquet in honour of Jupiter and 
Juno, and acknowledge and perform what is due to their majesty." 
AcACir^. '' How can I sacrifice to a man whose sepulchre is 

MABCH 31.] ST. ACACIUS, B. c. 291 

unquestionably in Crete ? What ! is he risen again ?" Martian. 
' You must either sacrifice or die." AcACius. " This is the 
custom of the Dalmatian robbers ; when they have taken a 
passenger in a narrow way, they leave him no other choice but 
to sunender his money or his life. But, for my part, I declare 
to you that 1 fear nothing that you can do to me. The laws 
punish adulterers, thieves, and murderers. Were I guilty of 
any of those things, I should be the first man to condemn myself. 
But if my whole crime be the adoring of the true God, and I 
am on this account to be put to death, it is no longer a law 
but an injustice." MARTIAN, *' I have no order to judge but to 
counsel you to obey. If you refuse, I know how to force you to 
a compliance." ACACius. " I have a law which I will obey : 
this commands me not to renounce my God. If you think your- 
self bound to execute the orders of a man who in a little time 
hence must leave the world, and his body become the food of 
worms, much more strictly am I bound to obey the omnipotent 
God, who is infinite and eternal, and who hath declared, Who^ 
ever shall deny me before men^ him will I deny before my 
Father J* Martian. " You now mention the error of your sect 
which I have long desired to be informed of: you say then that 
God hath a son ?* AcAClus. ** Doubtless he hath one." Mar- 
tian. "Who is this son of God?" ACACIUS. *' The Word 
of truth and grace." Martian. "Is that his name P' AcACius. 
'* You did not ask me his name but what he is." Martian. 
•* What then is his name P" ACACIUS. " JesiLs Christ" Martian 
having inquired of the saint by what woman God had his son, 
he replied, that the divine generation of the Word is of a diffe- 
rent nature from human generation, and proved it from the 
language the royal prophet makes use of in the forty-fourth 
psalna. Martian. "Is God then corporeal?" AcACiUS. ** He 
is known only to himself. We cannot describe him ; he is invi- 
sible to us in this mortal state, but we are sufficiently acquainted 
with his perfections to confess and adore him." Martian. 
" If God had no body, how can he have a heart or mind P' 
AcAiJius. " Wisdom hath no dependence or necessary connexion 
with ^n organized body. What hath body to do with under- 
standing P" He then pressed him to sacrifice from the example 
of the Cataphrygians, or Montanists, and engage all *inder his 
care to do the same. Acacius replied : " It is not me these 

W2 ST. ACACius, B. c. [Mabch 31. 

people obey but God. Let tbem bear me wben I advise them to 
what is right ; but let them despise me, if I offer them the 
contrary and endeavour to pervert them." Martian. " Give 
me all tbeir names." Ac actus. " They are written in heaven, 
ill God's invisible registers." Mabtiax. *' Where are the ma- 
gicians, your companions, and the teachers of this cunningly 
devised error ?" by which he probably meant the priests. ACA- 
Cius. ^' No one in the world abhors magic more than ^e 
Christians." Mabtian. ** Magic is the new religion which you 
introduce." ACACIUS. " We destroy those gods whom you fear 
though you made them yourselves. We, on the contrary, fear 
not him whom we have made with our hands, but him who 
created us, and who is the Lord and Master of all nature ; who 
loved us as our good father, and redeemed us from death and 
hell as the careful and affectionate shepherd of our souls." 
Mabtian. ** Give the names I require, if you would avoid the 
torture." AcAClUS. " I am before the tribunal, and do you ask 
me my name, and, not satisfied with that, you must also kno\Y 
those of the other ministers? Do you hope to conquer many; 
vou, whom I alone am able thus to confound. If you desire to 
know our names, mine is Acacius. If you would know more, 
they call me Agathangelus, and my two companions are Piso, 
bishop of the Trojans, and Menander, a priest. Do now what 
you please." Mabtian. " You shall remain in prison, till the 
emperor is acquainted with what has passed on this subject, and 
sends his orders concerning you." 

The emperor Decius having read the interrogatory, recom- 
pensed Martian by making him governor of Pamphilia, hoc 
admired so much the prudence and constancy of Acacius, that 
he ordered him to be discharged, and suffered him to profess tk 
Christian religion. 

This his glorious confession is dated on the 29th of March, 
and happened under Decius in 250, or 251. How long Saint 
Acacius survived does not appear. The Greeks, Egyptians, 
and other oriental Churches, honour his name on the 31st of 
March ; though his name occurs not in the Roman Martyrology. 
See his authentic acts in Ruinart, p. 152. Tillemont. t. 2. p. 
357. Fleury, t. 2. Ceillier, t. 3. p. 560. 

^Iarch 31.] ST. GUT, c. 293 

ST. GUY, C. 

He is called by the Germans Witen, and was forty years 
abbot of Pomposa, in tbe dacby of Ferrara, in Italy, a man 
eminent in all virtues, especially patience, the love of solitude^ 
and prayer. He died in 1046. The emperor, Henry III.> 
caused his relics to be translated to Spire, which city honours 
him as its principal patron. See his life by a disciple, in the 
Acta Sanctoriam of Henschenius, and another shorter, of the 
same age. 



m t if JJiliis 


Original Honmn* x- Anteir Rminli? 










Now reatly, in One Vohira*^, orown 8vo, printed on Toned I?aper, 

witli lV>rtrait, M:i}>, aud Illustrationf», Six Shillings, 



Now ready, in One Volume, cap 8vo, price 2s., 

BY HIS "kmixexce the late caudinal wisemav. 

Ill the press, and shortlj' will l)e published, 







^ MfUnM 


* J>UBLIN. ■ ! 

< . . . '■ 

Illustrated with 300 Splendid Engravings on Wood, and 20 Magnificent i 
II 111 Rt rat ions on Steel, and a Family Register of Marriages, Births, and 
r>e;itlis, forming the most beautiful edition of the Catholic Bible ever ! 
published in Great Britain. 

Strongly Bound in Cloth, lettered, . . £1.4 

Morocco, super extra, with cloth joints, riclily gilt, 

with large cross, &c. , . . . . i. . . £2 H 

Morocco, super extra, richly bound, large ci|oss on ' ,jPf 

Ride, morocco joints, bevelled boards, with treble gilt rims ' • 

and two clasps, suitable for wedding presents, &c., . . £4 4 .0^